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Formative Pruning to create a central leader fruit tree.

Characterised by having a central trunk off which radiates two tiers of branches, one 90cm above the soil level, the second tier 1m above that. The tree typically has a conical shape and can be restricted to two tiers 4-5 branches make up the lower tier, with 4 branches in the second tier. It is possible to have 3-4 tiers with declining number of branches in order to allow light penetration. Branches are flat, the lower tier being 30-40° above the horizontal, whereas the upper tiers are flat.

They are trained as follows:

First year

On planting. Install tree support to 3m
Adjust graft union to a minimum of 10cm (preferably 15cm to allow for mulch) above the soil level.
For a maiden, head back at 90cm
For a feathered maiden, head back at 110cm, keeping 3 branches which should be cut back by 1/3rd.

1-2cm growth Rub out 2nd & 3rd buds below the new leader bud - eliminates competition to the leading bud
Remove all blossom.
5-10cm growth Attach a clothes peg so as to promote wide crotch angle on new side shoots.
August Tie developing leader to tree support & remove clothes pegs.

Second year

Dormant Head the leader by ⅓rd (for vigorous growth)- ⅔rd (for less vigorous growth) depending on vigour.
Remove side shoots competing with leader.
Reduce laterals by 1/3rd
1-2cm growth Rub out 2nd & 3rd buds below the new leader bud - eliminates competition.
5-10cm growth Attach a clothes peg so as to promote wide crotch angle on new side shoots.
Mid July For vigorous varieties do this early or for varieties with low vigour, do it later. Pull the lower tier down to 30-45° to ensure good crotch angles
Late July Tie developing leader to tree support & remove clothes pegs

Third year

Dormant Reduce new seasons growth by ⅓ rd (for vigorous growth)- ⅔ rd (for less vigorous growth) depending on vigour.
Inward growing branches should be cut out completely.
Completely remove any branches coming from the trunk below the canopy.
May Remove blossom.
August Shorten spurs to 22cm/9inches.

Fourth year

Dormant Reduce new seasons growth by ⅓ rd (for vigorous growth)- ⅔ rd (for less vigorous growth) depending on vigour.
Remove any branches that cross or are growing into the centre of the tree.
Completely remove any branches coming from the trunk below the canopy.
Shorten spurs to 3 buds.

Mature tree pruning

Dormant Remove and renew upper limbs where they cause excessive shading.
Limit height by cutting back to a fruitful side branch.
In order to limit outward growth, prune to a fruitful side branch.
Remove any branches that cross or are growing into the centre of the tree.
June Thin fruit to achieve an annual crop.
August Summer prune to encourage light penetration and maintain shape