The goal of my orchard system is to eliminate as much work as possible. So I totmed this solution. It involves a chunk of work up front -- but it's interesting creative work that will challenge your creativity and solution-development skills.
You'll be making inroads into brand new territory, just like the other totm projects on this site and all around you.
In my orchard system there is no (or very little) pruning -- except for fruits such as grapes or peach trees, which demand yearly pruning.
The model that home orchardists typically folllow for pruning fruit trees is the one large-scale fruit growers use. For them, pruning makes sense. For home orchards, it doesn't.
Pruning shocks the tree. The tree responds by creating multiple new shoots that then need to be pruned -- a never-ending time-consuming cycle.
Pruning takes time. Time is too valuable to spend on pruning.
To use my orcharding system, you need a young tree. As it grows, you train it. Not prune it.
Four roads to the trunk
Start with a young tree, one with pliable branches.
Imagine your tree is divided into sections, like a pie. < insert drawing > By the time you've finished 'placing' your branches, you should be able to walk from the outer edges -- the tips of the limbs -- all the way to the trunk in four places. (Imagine a fruit pie -- delicious! -- cut into quarters.)
These four access points or roads assure easy access to the whole tree, easy harvesting, and easy maintenance.
Training the branches . . . you are the artist!
I place the branches where I want them to grow. If two branches are rubbing, or if they're in one of the four roads mentioned above, I move the branches and then find a way to anchor each branch in its new position.
Expect to invest time, initially, to set up the system.
However, compared to the hours you would otherwise spend pruning your tree, year after year, you'll soon see the many advantages of bending or placing a branch instead of cutting it.
I use white bendable plastic clothesline wire to place and anchor branches. Red clothespins attach the clothesline wire to the tree branch or support apparatus -- such as a stake.
For guidelines and further details, order my TOTM Orchards instructional video for only $4.99.