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Pinching fruit tree buds
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coolbrze
49 Posts
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1
April 14, 2019 - 10:38 am

I've heard people talk about pinching/twisting off the buds on fruit trees so they don't produce that season & thus grow stronger. Is this good practice if one has the time to do it? If so, do you literally just pinch or twist the buds off? Can this be done on Pear, Apple, & Peach trees?

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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April 15, 2019 - 11:58 am

De-flowering can be done to trees in for example a dry location where one might buy them rather than on one already having been transplanted and exposed. I used the sales floor as an example because I think you (the customer) would be further ahead with the often difficult task of preventing shock moving your tree (ie. transplaning shock). They (the seller) are motivated to sales only, also the least familiar about shock, become the least like minded to remove any flowers. 

In a nutshell, if I had bought that way and it were in a 5 gallon pot I may want one or two small sampler plums but I may have to decide on other variables. Any smaller than that I would say no way then thin all fruits when safe to do so. 

It used to be that all pinching or pruning be done at a time prior to any moist weather for stone fruits and the pomes (apples pears) were both 2 days. Now the stone fruits got moved from 2 days prior to 7 days. So fruit thinning can still be done once transplanted if the tree hasn't already had 100% aborted. 

Your main concern is getting the tree in the hole before too long from here and then it may already be obvoius that summer watering will become essential.

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
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April 16, 2019 - 9:57 am

The way I get it; the common wisdom is to remove the buds/flowers by pinching or snipping, (being careful not to damage the supporting spur/point of origin on the branch), for at least the first year anyway- either in the pot after grafting if by chance you got flowering wood..... and specifically the first year in the ground. The idea being to let the majority of energy go to forming a stronger more established root system and graft union. The process of fruiting, starting with the flower, takes a lot of energy.

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coolbrze
49 Posts
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April 20, 2019 - 4:55 pm

sweepbjames said
The way I get it; the common wisdom is to remove the buds/flowers by pinching or snipping, (being careful not to damage the supporting spur/point of origin on the branch), for at least the first year anyway- either in the pot after grafting if by chance you got flowering wood..... and specifically the first year in the ground. The idea being to let the majority of energy go to forming a stronger more established root system and graft union. The process of fruiting, starting with the flower, takes a lot of energy.  

That's what I understood also. I got four 6-7' Peach trees last week & just twisted all the flowers off yesterday & today. Took a while but I don't mind sacrificing some fruit for a stronger tree since that's the objective. What about next year - would it help to remove 1/2 the flowers? I'm guessing it would. Might also help w/ less storm damage or weight damage also...

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
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April 21, 2019 - 3:04 am

Hmm? Now I'm wondering what you've got in hand there. 6-7' is a fairly established tree. If you have recently planted them out from (big) pots, the advise to remove blossoms makes sense. If on the other hand you just moved in to a situation/location with these trees already planted and they are new to you but have been in the ground for a while, or you are planning to keep them as container planted trees.... maybe what you were asking about was fruit thinning. Apparently some do it at flowering stage. I try to do it when fruitlets are formed but small, to obtain fewer but higher quality and sized mature fruit; and eliminate touching fruit to discourage bug movement and harborage. 

Storm damage or weight issues sounds more like you also may have some limb pruning attention due. At least here in the Willamette Valley with our wet springs, the advise Rooney gave regarding stone fruits, your peaches, to not prune in the wet seasons is well advised, as they are known to be subject to bacterial infections. Generally the movement toward predominantly summer pruning has a lot of traction.

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coolbrze
49 Posts
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6
April 27, 2019 - 2:43 pm

The trees I purchased have never been planted & were in 5 gal containers & were 5.5 - 6.5' tall. I removed the flowers/fruit from them both so that the tree can become stronger but equally as important that we've got a LOT of bears up here & I don't have my electric fence up yet so this will hopefully buy me some time 🙂

The reason I asked about wind / storm damage is b/c we get some ferocious winds up here on the mountain. I'm still trying to learn about pruning fruit trees - it goes against almost everything I've read, studdied, & practiced as an arborist for 15 years... I wish I had someone near me to show me hands on since I learn a lot better that way.

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