A good strategy for renovating aging cherry orchards is to do heavy pruning in winter

A good strategy for renovating aging cherry orchards is to do heavy pruning in winter

Systematically removing all the branches from one side of the tree has been successful in renewing the productive structures of an adult cherry orchard.

The orchard recovery strategy with more intense pruning, systematically eliminating all the branches on one side of the plant, has had good results in recent years according to the experiences of Avium SpA. The idea is to perform intense pruning on one of the faces of the trees in a non-selective way, trying to leave a kind of “tacos” of branches around 30 cms. of length. The other side should receive a more gentle pruning, perhaps only eliminating those most vigorous and useless structures (suckers) in order to compensate the elimination, in practice, of half the productive volume of the tree.

The objective of this type of winter pruning is that each time a branch is removed, its response is a renewal of at least 80 cm. to be able to project it as a new productive branch towards the future. In an orchard with a good load potential, this unfortunately does not happen, due to shade and the same competition from the fruit. In another case, in poorly structured orchards, with little supply of fruit centers and low production potential (6 tons/ha), this renewal is a quick way out to improve the supply of branches and fruit centers and access better potential. future.

“The winter pruning that we could define as dormant state pruning should be carried out from late May until the day the first flower appears in the orchard, which could be the first of September as a general date. In this period, all the cuts made on the plant take a condition to enhance its vigor, that is, if I want to eliminate a branch with a concept of structure renewal, it is super important to eliminate it during dormancy, considering leaving an active point in the trunk in the case of the elimination of the branches so that they take their renewal from that point. Winter pruning is much more successful for renovating structures than summer pruning.» pointed out Carlos Tapia, director of Avium SpA.

From the commercial point of view, this intense pruning should be carried out the first year in half of the planted area so that the total yield decreases, in theory, by only 25%. However, in reality the drop in production is a little less, since the branches that are on the softly pruned side achieve a little more fruit.

“In situations of high production, the elimination of a small percentage of the branches (1 to 3 branches per plant), does not have a satisfactory response in terms of structure renewal, on the other hand, when intense pruning is carried out, significant changes are seen in terms of garden renovation added the expert.

To obtain positive results, it is recommended to carry out this type of pruning alternately with 50% of the surface and always wait a season to carry out the face of the axis that has not been renewed. Although it is a drastic strategy, the orchard must be in appropriate conditions to be able to carry it out, that it be healthy and that there is adequate availability of light, but it works and after a few years a completely new orchard is obtained.

Source Information

– Carlos Tapia, Director Avium SpA.


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