Forming and cutting apricots.
In southern countries, where the climate is favorable for the cultivation of apricots, it gives trees strictly defined forms and makes quite complex winter and summer pruning. The trees are usually in the form of a kettle with five branches or in the form of a diagonal palmette with three pairs of branches.. Our climate is not conducive to the cultivation of apricots.
Trees often freeze and suffer from diseases that attack bark and wood. Hence, apricots in our orchards and gardens are short-lived, only 10-15 years.
Due to the short life span of our trees, it is not worth forming artificial crowns so often described in foreign textbooks. It is best to keep apricots in an almost natural form, treating them in a similar way to plum trees (Lynx.).
Lynx. Natural shape of apricot crown.
The apricots that have been planted in the orchard must be pruned in the spring. Trim unbranched specimens at a height of 70-80 cm from the ground. When trimmed at this height, a crown set at a distance will form 50 cm from the ground. Cut the branched buds as shown in the picture.
Lynx. Cutting apricots in the first year after planting.
Lower shoots from the ground up to the height 50 cm need to be removed smoothly. Leave 3-5 for the branches from the higher shoots and shorten these by 1 / 3-2 / 3. Stems with wide bifurcation angles should be left on the boughs. The guide must be shortened at a distance of approx 50 cm from the uppermost side shoots.
In second, In the third and fourth years after planting the apricots, the trees grow very vigorously and generally do not require pruning. At this time, you need to take care, so that the crown grows systematically to the sides. Bending the shoots is a useful procedure, especially in these varieties, which by nature create narrow and slender crowns. Leave all shoots directed to the outside of the crown without pruning. If we find shoots growing inwards in the crown, then they should be cut smoothly in the spring.
If apricots grow in fertile soil, sometimes their growth is so intense, that the annual increases are after 2 m long and branch poorly. It is then possible to pinch off the tops of shoots once in July in order to obtain abundant branches. Young trees of several years, which have already begun to bear fruit, should be lightly overexposed. During the X-ray, we remove the shoots crossing each other from the center of the crown, as well as dead or sick (Lynx.).
Lynx. Cutting apricot several years old.
Older apricot trees require regular x-raying every year. On trees aged from 7 do 15 years we find many shoots and branches growing towards the center of the crown, lying on top of each other, crossing, etc.. Cut these branches and shoots smooth, leaving the shoots growing outside. An example of x-raying an apricot is shown in the figure.
Lynx. X-raying of fruiting apricot.
Moral, similarly to other stone trees, they are susceptible to infection with bark and wood diseases, especially then, when they are cut strongly. Diseases attack wounds on shoots most easily in the winter and early spring months. For this reason, the apricots should be cut in late spring in sunny weather. All wounds, even minor, should be lubricated with Santar or Funaben 3 or with emulsion paint with an additive 2% Topsin and Miedzian. Variety trees, early harvesting, it is best to cut after harvesting in the second half of August or September.