In general, pruning crops such as cherries and apricots is very similar to pruning other stone fruits, but there are a lot of subtleties. So sanitary pruning is similar, during which it is necessary to remove all broken, diseased, growing incorrectly inside the crown branches.
It is worth noting that fruit trees are primarily valued for their harvest. This means that it must be achieved by any means, which also includes pruning, as well as annual and mass planting of flower buds with a tree. In cherries, they appear on elongated annual branches, as well as on bouquet branches.
During the spring planting of one-year-old seedlings, they need to be cut at a height of 80-2100 cm. If the seedlings are smaller, then it should not be shortened, only next year at a height of 80-100 cm. A clearly expressed tier of the lower branches allows you to leave 3 -4 skeletal branches. If the main branches of the tree have not been shortened earlier, then the main fruiting zone moves to the outer crown, exposing itself over time.
An important nuance in the annual shortening of branches in young plants in varieties with high shoot-forming ability is to eliminate the two lower buds, since the shoots growing from them are located at right angles, and will soon require additional pruning. Escape from the bottom, third buds will be located horizontally, and therefore, more quickly will give flower buds and you will get a good harvest.
When the crown reaches 4-5 meters, the center conductor is usually removed. Annual growths less than 70-90 cm do not need to be shortened; if strong branching is observed in young lateral shoots, then the cortex can be clarified. If the growth length is 20-25 cm, then anti-aging pruning is necessary. At the same time, you need to feed and water the tree well. During full fruiting, pruning should not be done, only occasionally thin out the crown and lower it.
The most favorable time for reducing the crown of sweet cherries is the time of harvest, because it is during this period that strong growth processes occur. This allows the plant to overgrow slices painlessly and fairly quickly. In the summer, pinching of the shoot growth point is very useful, when their length is at least 15-20 cm. Trimming of young growth at 40 cm length, which is carried out from the second half of June until the end of the month, is also desirable. To do this, prune 1/3 of the shoot to the outer kidney with secateurs. As a result, by August there will be 23 young shoots that will develop from the upper kidneys.
As for apricots, flower buds begin their development on spurs, bouquet branches and annual growths. But spurs and bouquet branches are short-lived, and the fruiting zone is usually limited to 5-6 annual growths. If the plant does not have strong shoots, then the bases of the skeletal and skeletal shoots become bare, the fruiting zone moves from the center to the crown periphery. A feature of the apricot is that flower buds bloom very early in the spring, and are often damaged by recurrent night frost. That is why the goal of pruning is to maintain an optimal ratio of apricot branches and their sizes.
To do this, every year a rejuvenating pruning of 4-5 year old wood is performed, which allows you to shift the fruiting sphere to the center of the apricot, and the crown will become more compact.
In the spring, the kidneys of the 2nd and 3rd waves of last year’s growth primarily emerge from the rest period. They are the most resistant to frost. Buds located on bouquet branches, shoots of the 1st wave bloom 8-12 days earlier. Given this factor, regular fruiting can be achieved. So, you need to pinch fast-growing shoots, which by May reached 40-50 cm in length, thereby causing a second and third wave of growth.
The formation of apricot crown is carried out during the first 2-3 years after planting. To organize many overgrowing fruiting branches in the first years after planting, you need to pinch the main shoot at a time when the first 12-15 leaves appeared on it. This approach will allow the formation of fruiting branches and inhibit the lush growth of the main shoots.
It is worth noting that apricot does not tolerate thickening of the crown. Therefore, fruitful branches, whose length begins to exceed 50 cm, must be cut in half in the spring, but in such a way that the flower buds are preserved. Such pruning is called restoration by specialists. Also, do not forget about regular thinning of the crown of trees, guaranteeing sufficient lighting. Also in the spring you need to eliminate all thickening branches on the ring.