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Japanese fruit tree pruning techniques
Pruning a fruit tree requires some basic knowledge and experience. Pruning techniques vary according to species and time of the year. All fruit trees require pruning in order to maintain a healthy, productive and attractive tree. Pruning helps remove dead, diseased or damaged branches and roots, and to improve the appearance and health of the tree. Proper pruning is important in the production of high quality fruit and nut crops.
Pruning techniques depend on the desired results. They include: removal of damaged or dead branches and growth, rejuvenation of trees, which removes branches and increases growth in order to increase a tree's longevity, and pruning the shape of the tree.
Cordon pruning is a technique that encourages rapid growth and branching of a tree. The branches or shoots on a tree grow along the major branches and spread out to the sides. Cordons prune the main branches to allow the minor shoots to develop into large branches and to increase growth rate.
Cordons can be categorized as either central or terminal cordons, depending on whether the cordon is at the center or a terminal branch of the tree. Some trees, such as peaches and cherries, are known for their high susceptibility to fire blight and other diseases. In order to protect these trees against disease, the cordon pruning can be delayed until the spring when there is no more risk of disease spreading. In other cases, cordons are pruned before they become fully grown in order to encourage branch formation.
Cordons are used in combination with cordon pruning to protect the developing fruit from sunburn and cold, dry weather. The tree will produce abundant fruit if the fruit is protected from the hot sun and wind and the fruit is able to ripen properly. If the fruit is not protected, the tree will not produce much fruit and the risk of sunburn and cold is reduced.
Cordons are also used to protect an orchard from a sudden storm. The tree will respond to storm danger and will produce branches or shoots that will hold up against the winds and rain.