Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers



Author Topic: Topping Spindly Carambola  (Read 498 times)

K-Rimes

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 235
    • Santa Barbara
    • View Profile
Topping Spindly Carambola
« on: October 21, 2019, 03:45:50 PM »
I just bought a Kari that is almost 10' tall, but with a diameter far less than an inch. Probably 1/2" at most. It is wispy up top with lots of new growth from 6'-10' but with no foliage or branches below.

Is it ok to top it? Is that recommended? I can't fathom any of the branches holding even a single fruit.

It's about 5' wide between the branches at its widest. Shaped like a T. I'll get a photo of it later.

pineislander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1661
    • Bokeelia, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 05:45:04 PM »
I just bought a Kari that is almost 10' tall, but with a diameter far less than an inch. Probably 1/2" at most. It is wispy up top with lots of new growth from 6'-10' but with no foliage or branches below.

Is it ok to top it? Is that recommended? I can't fathom any of the branches holding even a single fruit.

It's about 5' wide between the branches at its widest. Shaped like a T. I'll get a photo of it later.

In Florida they can be very vigorous and can be pruned back severely every year.
They bear along newer branches and also off older wood. Sounds like the grower had the tree in a shaded environment and it was reaching for sun. I acn't say about your climate since you are heading into winter it may not grow much and may flush a lot when it warms in spring. You have to imagine what you want in a few years when doing formative pruning. Carambola tends to send up long branches which arch especially when loaded with fruit. If those braches begin too low lots of fruit will go down to the ground. To me the ideal shaped Carambola tree will have a long lived permanent framework 4-6 feet high with a replaceable arching set of bearing branches. So, after planting you would want to build those first scaffold branches and in seasona after that choose to prune at the 4-6 ft level so that the new branches which flush there will flower. Once you have those branches growing out 3-4 feet bend them by hand until you can hear them 'crackle' a little, then tip the branch. This stress will result in flowering within a few weeks.
What I am describing is what I've been watching at the largest commercial Carambola farm around, you can see lots of pictures over time of what they do here:
 http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=29381.msg331892#msg331892

K-Rimes

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 235
    • Santa Barbara
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 05:54:49 PM »
I just bought a Kari that is almost 10' tall, but with a diameter far less than an inch. Probably 1/2" at most. It is wispy up top with lots of new growth from 6'-10' but with no foliage or branches below.

Is it ok to top it? Is that recommended? I can't fathom any of the branches holding even a single fruit.

It's about 5' wide between the branches at its widest. Shaped like a T. I'll get a photo of it later.

In Florida they can be very vigorous and can be pruned back severely every year.
They bear along newer branches and also off older wood. Sounds like the grower had the tree in a shaded environment and it was reaching for sun. I acn't say about your climate since you are heading into winter it may not grow much and may flush a lot when it warms in spring. You have to imagine what you want in a few years when doing formative pruning. Carambola tends to send up long branches which arch especially when loaded with fruit. If those braches begin too low lots of fruit will go down to the ground. To me the ideal shaped Carambola tree will have a long lived permanent framework 4-6 feet high with a replaceable arching set of bearing branches. So, after planting you would want to build those first scaffold branches and in seasona after that choose to prune at the 4-6 ft level so that the new branches which flush there will flower. Once you have those branches growing out 3-4 feet bend them by hand until you can hear them 'crackle' a little, then tip the branch. This stress will result in flowering within a few weeks.
What I am describing is what I've been watching at the largest commercial Carambola farm around, you can see lots of pictures over time of what they do here:
 http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=29381.msg331892#msg331892


It sounds as though I should cut out a big section in the centre and just try to graft the "full" part of the tree down lower. A risky proposition since I haven't successfully grafted yet. I fear cutting it down to 6' tall would leave me with no more branches or leaves, but if it really is a vigorous grower, that may be the only way. Any issue with just turning it into a stump and having it restart?

Mike T

  • Zone 12a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7488
  • Cairns,Nth Qld, Australia
    • Zone 12a
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 06:25:34 PM »
Chop it hard and as low as possible while preserving the thickest parts of the scion.

K-Rimes

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 235
    • Santa Barbara
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 06:28:29 PM »
Chop it hard and as low as possible while preserving the thickest parts of the scion.

So you'd recommend grafting the leafy top section to a chopped down part with the long centre section removed?

Mike T

  • Zone 12a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7488
  • Cairns,Nth Qld, Australia
    • Zone 12a
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 06:48:13 PM »
Not many trees enjoy the chop as much as carambola and if it is a grafted one or not you can keep it below 6 feet.Shade grown trees want to be tall but you just have to show it who's boss.Yes cut the spindly and whispy growth.

K-Rimes

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 235
    • Santa Barbara
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 07:26:35 PM »
Not many trees enjoy the chop as much as carambola and if it is a grafted one or not you can keep it below 6 feet.Shade grown trees want to be tall but you just have to show it who's boss.Yes cut the spindly and whispy growth.

Sounds good. Chopping it down to a stump tonight then (there will be no branches or leaves) Thanks for the advice.

spaugh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2776
    • San Diego County California
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2019, 08:17:34 PM »
You might want to wait until it comes out of dormancy next year.  Bad time to be chopping trees down in CA IMO.
Brad Spaugh

K-Rimes

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 235
    • Santa Barbara
    • View Profile
Re: Topping Spindly Carambola
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2019, 03:48:40 PM »
Some photos of the offender. I took Spaughs advice and will cut in spring. I see two options of where to cut as shown by my hand.

It is in the shade at my house cause it just came from the shady nursery and I repotted.







 

Copyright © Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers