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Trees that recently grew only in the south are now cultivated by gardeners in mid-latitudes. Apricots branch strongly, thick branches develop quickly, which leads to a thickening of the crown. The fruits become smaller, which affects the yield. Caring for a stone fruit culture consists not only in watering and feeding, apricot pruning should be carried out regularly, which contributes to the rejuvenation of the tree, prevents the growth of shoots, and prevents the branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit.
Choosing tools for working with apricots
To form a crown, to shorten the processes, you need to stock up on inventory. You need to buy a pruner, a grafting knife, a garden saw, and a file. It is imperative to have a bar on hand, with which the tools have to be sharpened quite often. The wood of the apricot is tight and strong, so the inventory quickly becomes dull. The secateurs are adjusted with a nut that can be pulled and released.
Before pruning, the teeth are spread at the saw in order to direct them inward with the sharp side. Before starting work, the tool is disinfected with an antiseptic so that microbes from a diseased branch do not get onto a healthy plant. Rust on the saw and knife is smeared with garden paste, which is cleaned off with a sharpening bar before work.
Timing of pruning a tree
Dried apricot shoots are removed at any time. The shortening of the processes, the formation of the crown is carried out before the beginning of the opening of the kidneys. All gardening work is carried out in spring and autumn and ends when the sap has stopped moving. Pruning is carried out not only to rejuvenate the apricot, crown formation, but also to remove frozen shoots.
Not always thermophilic culture normally tolerates cold winters. To stimulate the growth of young branches, pruning is also started in summer.
When the apricot bark changes its hue, the juice begins to move, the summer residents who have rested over the winter will have a lot of work, since it's time to prune: both rejuvenating and sanitary. With a sharp tool, shoots that grow inside the trunk are removed, the crown is cleaned, making sure to follow the slope so that the sections lead to the bud. Dry, frozen branches are removed, which take away strength from healthy shoots.
It is necessary to form a crown on a fruiting tree until a cone of green leaves is formed. The flowering period is not suitable for pruning.
The extra ovary does not crumble from the apricots, there are many fruits left, which causes the branches to break. In a couple of years, small and large skeletal shoots are formed on the same tree. In the summer, there are 2 prunings. In June, minting begins, contributing to the rapid growth of leaves:
- Strong annual branches longer than 30 cm are shortened by half, weak ones by 1/3.
- After 14-16 days, the strongest ones are left of the new shoots that have appeared.
- The tree is formed in several tiers, directing the crown to the desired position.
Such rejuvenating pruning is performed not every year, but at least after 3. Buds are formed on young shoots, which contributes to an increase in fruiting in the next season.
When performing the procedure in August, the leaves do not have time to grow. After pruning, the apricot must be watered as it requires a lot of water. If the weather is dry, irrigation is impossible, it is not recommended to shorten the shoots, the plant can get sick.
After harvest, pruning is done to remove damaged and dry branches. By freeing the apricot from weak shoots, they help it survive the winter, accumulate strength for the next year, and form new shoots.
In mid-October, 3 types of pruning are started:
However, the procedure does not apply to late varieties of apricots. Long branches are shortened by half a meter, the main shoots are pinched.
Changing the timing of pruning depending on the region of growth
The climate of the southern regions differs significantly from the weather conditions in the central regions. Although breeders have developed varieties of apricots that take root and bear fruit in the middle lane, the timing of pruning is slightly different.
In the Krasnodar Territory, in the North Caucasus, shoots on trees are shortened in February and March, while in the Kursk region, work in the garden begins in early April.
In the southern regions, autumn pruning continues in November, in mid-latitudes they finish before October 15, otherwise the apricot may freeze in winter.
Varieties of forms
Young shoots on fruit trees bear fruit abundantly for 3 years. In the spring, a mass of ovary appears on them, but after a short period the yield decreases, but new branches grow to replace them. Experienced gardeners know how to give an apricot a decorative look. The cypress shape helps the owner of a small plot save space for planting other crops. The crown of the tree turns out to be compact, and not spreading.
The apricot, which is formed in the form of a palmette, grows as a bush and looks very beautiful, it is a pleasure to pick the fruits from it. This pruning scheme is quite complicated, not every gardener will be able to master the process.
The easiest way is to make the tree look like a ball. Shoots are shortened in the third year after planting.
For tall apricots, a sparse-tiered form is more suitable, because it inhibits growth. In regions with cold winters, a lot of snow falls, the shale form prevails. Low trees make them look like a bowl:
- 4 years after planting, 3 strong branches are chosen from the apricot, the rest are shortened to hemp.
- In the future, the shoots are equal so that they have the same length.
- On branches of the skeletal type, 2 more smaller sizes are formed, leaving no more than half a meter between them.
Regulatory pruning is done to remove the growths that grow into the trunk. The procedure helps to improve lighting.
Crown formation rules
Despite the fact that apricots can look like an ornamental shrub, cypress or palmette, the crown of all these fruit trees does not thicken, but turns out to be sparse due to the fact that it is formed years before fruiting. First, the correct pruning is performed, and then only the branches are removed and shortened so that the fruit crop is well illuminated by the sun's rays.
After planting the apricot in open ground, until the next spring, a central, rather strong shoot grows. In the fall, before the cold comes, it is shortened by ¼ of its length.
At 2 years old
The tree continues to develop. A two-year-old apricot already has 3 lateral branches, each of which is slightly pruned during the warm period. This procedure helps the young plant not to die in severe frosts and even get stronger by spring.
Exactly how long you need to wait for a large number of branches to grow on the apricot. They form a crown in the form of a ball. After 3 years, old shoots are disposed of, since during this period fruiting worsens on them. Although the ovary will appear on the tree, there will be less fruit.
At this age, new branches are formed on the main branches on the apricot. They must be trimmed. The shoots are shortened by 15 cm. The distance between the shoots is increased by 10 centimeters every year. On the central trunk, long branches are halved, short ones do not touch.
6-7 years old
By this age, the crown of the tree should be formed. Regulatory pruning is sufficient for an adult apricot. It is performed so that the tree does not thicken, is well illuminated by the sun and pleases with fruit.
Fruiting buds are formed at a height of 30 cm from the top of young shoots. After 3 years, they do not give a crop, there is a need to form new bouquet branches.
Features of anti-aging pruning
With improper care and in old trees, shoots stop growing, but apricots recover well. There are several ways to rejuvenate pruning to help prolong fruiting.
In the first variant, the branches that extend from the skeletal ones are shortened to the base. This contributes to the emergence of a large number of new shoots. Almost all are removed, and those that grow horizontally or are located at an angle of 45 ° are left.
In the second option, the skeletal branches are to be exposed and cut to about half the length. This helps to rejuvenate the apricot.
With the third method, the main shoots are completely removed, but first they are shortened from the trunk by 30 centimeters. When new shoots come out of the buds, one is chosen, which is left as a skeletal branch. Do not cut several thick shoots at the same time, otherwise the apricot may get sick. If the process is successful, only after 3 years another shoot is replaced.
Necessary care after pruning
When forming the crown and shortening the processes, the tree must be carefully looked after. After completing the procedure, they proceed to other important work:
- Places of cuts are covered with garden pitch with a layer of at least 0.5 cm.
- Extensive wounds are disinfected with copper sulfate.
- In order for the apricot to take root faster, fertilizers containing phosphorus and nitrogen are applied to the trunk circle.
If the sections are not processed, microbes start, and the plant becomes sick. You can make your own putty using fir resin. In a metal container, 100 g of this substance is mixed with 10 grams of wax and heated until the mass melts. When it cools down, pour in a spoonful of warm alcohol.
Var, which hardens quickly and closes sections well, can be prepared from other components. Over low heat, you need to melt 400 g of rosin, 200 beeswax and 110 fat. When the mixture is heated, a glass of linseed oil is poured, stirred and sent to cold water.
Errors during the trimming procedure
Although the apricot is considered an unpretentious plant, and breeders have created many hybrid varieties, in order for the tree to please with the harvest of large fruits, it needs to be watered, fed, and the crown should not be thickened. Even a small mistake can do huge harm:
- When pruning shoots with a blunt saw, burrs form on the bark, into which microbes are sent, and the branch begins to rot.
- When performing the procedure in late autumn, when the temperature drops significantly, the wounds no longer heal, and the apricot often dies in severe frosts.
- Lack of processing of cuts, the use of non-disinfected tools is fraught with infection of the tree.
You can not leave branches that depart from the trunk at a slope of 30 °, apricots do not shed the ovary, and heavy fruits break them off. In the middle latitudes, it is not recommended to resort to pruning in the fall, the trees may not survive.
During the procedure, some gardeners do not adhere to the rules, but they must be followed:
- All branches that go down are deleted.
- Shoots over the age of 5 years are cut at an angle of 45 °.
- The crown must be freed from the processes directed to the middle.
- The drooping branches are shortened to the point where the branching begins.
The length of the trunk is left at a height of 2 meters. You can completely rejuvenate an apricot only after 3 years, otherwise the probability of its death is high.
Novice gardeners sometimes do not know that shoots need to be cut near the buds and not leave hemp. They harbor germs that cause serious illness.
A saw should be used to shorten thick branches, but such a tool for thin branches is not suitable, a pruner is intended for this. Cutting points must be cleaned with a sharp knife.
With a strong thickening of the crown, it is necessary to remove the shoots that grow from the inside or are directed downward.
On mature apricots, old branches must be thinned out, diseased ones must be cut off, however, some gardeners first shorten not weak shoots, but those that are not located correctly.
Gross mistakes include the processing of sections with manure, which did not have time to overheat, or with chemical paint. Such substances cause wood burns, and these wounds do not heal for a long time.