In this video about training fruit trees to structure growth, Ian Sturrock shows how to prune a maiden fruit tree to achieve various shapes. The techniques he demonstrates for training fruit trees are straightforward once you understand how the tree grows.
The first decision you’ll need to make is how long you want the trunk to be before it starts to branch out. A bush tree has a trunk of around 75 cm, ideal for a small garden.
A half standard has a trunk around 140 cm which used to be standard for orchards running sheep under the trees. Nowadays it’s more to allow lawnmowers access.
The full standard tree has a trunk of 2 metres – enough to run cows under or, as Ian jokes, a ride-on mower!
Training a Fruit Tree Second Year, Nicking and Notching
He then explains the techniques of Nicking and Notching which are a way to control the growth of branches by encouraging or limiting the sap available. The amount of sap determines how much fuel the branch has available for growth.
Notching When Fruit Tree Training
When training a fruit tree, notching is making a cut under a branch to restrict the upwards flow of sap reaching the branch and thereby limiting its growth.
Nicking When Fruit Tree Training
These important training techniques to produce a balanced tree are very easy and quick to undertake. Once explained and demonstrated.
Finally he discusses the pros and cons of an open centred bush (goblet shaped) and shows how a delayed open-centred bush has all the advantage and overcomes the main disadvantage of this shape.
As becomes apparent, the secret to the initial fruit tree training is to think 20 or 30 years ahead to the mature tree.
You can see more of Ian Sturrock and his heritage Welsh fruit tree nursery on his web site Welsh Fruit Trees