If you are buying fruit trees for the first time or have planted some in the past few years, it is important to get them off to a good start. Just like building a house, a good foundation is vital for future success. You can spend as much time as you would like training trees, but there are a couple of things to remember:
· You are looking for the classical “Christmas tree” shape, this prevents the upper limbs from shading out those that are lower on the tree, allowing for better growth of those easier to pick, lower fruits.
· Even spacing of limbs around the main truck, this is accomplished with thinning cuts and proper training of the trees.
· Promote wide (>45 degrees) angles on the limbs. By doing this the limb becomes stronger and more able to bear the heavier loads of fruit. When trees are young, you can accomplish this by putting a clothes pin or toothpicks above the new shoot to force it to grow outwards, as the limb gets larger you may have to use a limb spreader to force it to maintain the correct angle, this can be done with a piece of lumber, or a stick pushed between the trunk of the tree and the limb.