Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers



Author Topic: Pinching unwanted (?) lateral growth on very young/small trees  (Read 256 times)

Triloba Tracker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1005
  • Rom. 1:20
    • USA, Middle Tennessee, Zone 7a
    • View Profile
I'm trying to wrap my head around the general plant physiology concept that leaf surface drives root growth, and root growth drives leaf surface growth. (or maybe that's not even stated accurately.)

The specific situation I have is young seedling trees or even grafted trees under 3 feet tall - the trees are trying to form lateral branches at this short height, branches which are too low to be viable fruiting branches long-term.

So my thought had been to pinch-off this lateral growth to encourage more vertical (apical bud) growth.

So my question is - if the axiom stated at the outset is true, am I hindering the root establishment of these young trees by reducing the photosynthetic potential?
(The assumption/catch here is that by pushing multiple branches, the tree can increase leaf-surface faster than if it is only pushing from the top bud. This may not be true)

Thoughts from the intelligentsia?

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4554
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Pinching unwanted (?) lateral growth on very young/small trees
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 03:23:21 PM »
It's a good idea to leave low branches until the tree is somewhat established. Doing so helps the trunk to thicken. If you encourage direct vertical growth at a young age, it can encourage thin / spindly trunks.

Usually, though, we try to encourage bi- or tri-furcation on our fruit trees at 3 - 4 foot height, with the goal of producing trees that are wider than tall.
Jeff  :-)

Triloba Tracker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1005
  • Rom. 1:20
    • USA, Middle Tennessee, Zone 7a
    • View Profile
Re: Pinching unwanted (?) lateral growth on very young/small trees
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 03:55:22 PM »
Thanks, Jeff - i will study on it.

I was thinking that wind would be the primary stimulus for trunk thickening, as the tree tries to brace itself.

I totally understand that if there were very rapid vertical growth, it could outpace the trunk widening and be a bad thing. In my case i don't think the trees are growing that fast.
I had a couple trees last year that put on 4 feet of vertical growth (ok, i guess that's pretty fast!) and they have the thickest trunks of any of my trees. Coincidentally i did NOT pinch these 2 trees - they did it on their own.

Not disagreeing with you (i'm a novice) but just thinking out loud.

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4554
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Pinching unwanted (?) lateral growth on very young/small trees
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 04:45:39 PM »
If memory serves, I got that from "An Illustrated Guide to Pruning" by Gilman (this guy: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_a24555900) several years ago and eventually agreed with the results after giving it a shot (I had previously been pruning under growth too quickly, in an attempt to push trees upwards and give myself some space to walk).
Jeff  :-)

brian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 820
    • Pennsylvania (zone 6)
    • View Profile
Re: Pinching unwanted (?) lateral growth on very young/small trees
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 10:07:29 PM »
Iíve also heard the same on the citrus forum - that lower foliage encourages trunk to widen.  I intend to keep all lo branches until my trees are older

 

Copyright © Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers