How to prune an apricot depending on the season and purpose
Tell me how to prune an apricot? Last year we bought a house, there are several old and neglected trees on the site, including an apricot. In the spring there was no time to deal with them, so in the summer we did not see a special harvest. But they managed to plant another varietal seedling. I would like it to develop correctly, and the old copy needs to be put in order. How to do it right and when?
Every gardener knows that without competent and timely pruning of fruit trees, high yields should not be expected. Even if they delight in the first years with a large number of fruits, then over time these indicators will decrease. Knowing how to prune an apricot can not only form a beautiful tree, but also keep yields at the same level..
First of all, it is worth noting that pruning apricots should be done not only in spring. This culture has one peculiarity. It preserves almost the entire ovary without dropping it, which leads to overloading of the tree. Therefore, it is important to carry out not only spring, but also autumn and even summer pruning of apricot. How and when to do this, we will now talk.
How to prune an apricot in spring
Spring is the most important season for apricots, especially for young seedlings. In March, formative pruning is carried out, which will play a decisive role for further yield. Also, in the spring, you can combine the formation with sanitary pruning, if it was not carried out in the fall..
The formation of a young apricot is most often carried out by giving the crown a sparse-tiered shape. For this:
- In the first year, if the seedling grows in one trunk, the top is cut off, leaving no more than 80 cm in height. If there are side branches, the central conductor is shortened, but so that it rises about 20 cm above the side branches. Of these, up to 4 of the strongest are left, growing on approximately the same tier. The rest are cut into the ring.
- In the second year of life, there will be lateral formations on the left branches. Of these, 3-4 shoots are also chosen, removing the rest, and shortening last year’s formations. At the same time, at a height of about 50 cm, they lay a second tier of several branches growing at the same distance. At the same time, they also need to be shortened so that the upper shoots are shorter than those located below. The center conductor is also shortened, leaving no more than 40 cm before the first lateral branch.
- By the third year of life, the formation of the first tier is completed, leaving up to 6 annual branches on the shoots of the second order. The number of branches growing from the trunk, but not skeletal branches, is slightly reduced. The conductor is completely removed.
From the 4th year of life, the apricot begins to bear fruit. Now it is important to maintain the crown so that it does not thicken, and to carry out sanitary pruning. Once every three years, actively developing apricots rejuvenate.
When and why is summer pruning done?
The purpose of summer pruning is to rejuvenate the mature apricot. It is carried out no more than once every 3 years, cutting out thickening shoots and side branches formed on the two lower tiers. Also, stem shoots are removed and young shoots are shortened. Of the young branches formed, no more than 4 of the strongest are left, the rest are removed.
In old neglected apricots, several skeletal branches are drastically shortened (up to 30 cm). If fruiting occurs only at the tops of the branches, the skeletal shoots can be completely exposed..
Such procedures are carried out in early June, so that by winter the tree has time to recover and lay flower buds on secondary branches. Summer pruning stimulates young growth. It also contributes to a faster “maturation” and wood overgrowth of skeletal branches.
For apricot that grows poorly or lacks moisture or nutrition, it is better to postpone summer pruning for the next season..
Features and purpose of autumn apricot pruning
In the fall, sanitary pruning is mainly carried out in order to prepare the apricot for a successful winter. For this, diseased and dried branches are completely removed, and fruit branches are shortened (except for skeletal ones). It is important to have time to complete the work by mid-October, and in the central zone – by the end of September. Otherwise, with a sharp drop in temperature, the apricot will freeze out, not having time to heal the wounds.