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Central Leader Vs. Open Vase Apple Tree Pruning

16 years ago

What are the views of the advantages/disadvantages of pruning apple trees into these two forms?

Pruning information I find on apple trees all seems to dwell on using the central leader form for apples, though open vase is sometimes mentioned.

I have several older apples which I have worked over from a general neglect method of pruning to essentially open vase and it seems to work well, and I also have several new apples which need pick a form. I was going to try the central leader form, but I really never see apples around here that use the central leader, though the most common is a version of neglect or topping the high parts and some follow more of a vase form.

I worry with the central leader that I will be essentially building a fairly tall tree while a vase form would be easier to control height, and I would just build width over time.

My young trees are planted on a grid with 20 feet between them. I would like to prune for ease of care and access to the trees, as well as best fruit production.

Anybody have any thoughts on these techniques, or any others that would work better? I will probably prune the small trees in about a month before they start coming out of dormancy, then see how last year's summer pruning on one older tree reacts and consider moving more towards summer pruning after that.

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