Written by  Bas van den Ende

Keep apple/pear fruiting wood young & productive with the 1-2-3 rule of pruning (part 2)

Using a pear tree as an example, here is how you use the 1-2-3 rule. The 2 in 1-2-3 refers to fruiting wood is now two years old. 

2 The 2 in 1-2-3 refers to fruiting wood is now two years old. (Continued from last issue)
This two-year-old wood has had one or more pears at the tip last year and has now spurred up.
The fruit bud at the tip has also grown one or two bourse shoots (Figure 2). About one-third of the renewal wood should be two years old.
How you prune this two-year-old wood depends on the number of buds and the vigour of the trees. Here are two options:
Cut back to the ‘ring’. This is the division between the one and two-year-old wood. This cut is called the ‘ring’ or ‘fertility’ cut because it improves fruit set (Figure 2, A).
Cut deeper than the ring to reduce the number of fruit buds. Often you find differences in the fruitfulness of this wood on the same tree.
Cut deeper when the wood is weaker (Figure 2, B).
3 The 3 in 1-2-3 refers to three-year-old wood which was cropped when two years old and sometimes one year old.
Renew the three-year-old wood by cutting it back hard (Figure 3).
This way you will generate new laterals, and the cycle starts again (Figure 4).
You may leave some good young fruiting spurs on this three-year-old wood, but you must cut back hard to get new ­laterals.
About one-third of the renewal should be three years old.

See this article in Tree Fruit May 2020