Two things to say.
If you have a desire to prune a woody plant and have not read this book, I
suggest you do so.
If you are dealing with peach trees it would be of value to know that the
bigger the pruning cut, even if correct, the more symplast that will die:
Peach trees require fine pruning often. The smaller the pruning cut the
less dieback of symplast that will occur. The symplast is very important.
With no symplast you will not have any fruit. A symplast tree does not
produce peaches. The more symplast a peach tree has, the more places it has
to store starch which is non-water soluble glucose. Glucose is used for
defense for one. When defense is low the peach tree is placed in a
predisposition with little energy for defense. Spraying all of the
chemicals the product pushers want to spray will not bring the symplast back
or will it increase the trees defense. Harsh improper pruning greatly
reduces symplast. Specifically with peaches, even if the target is hit, a
great deal of symplast will die. Per my dissection. What is recommended is
fine pruning. pruning would be best if limited to 1/3 of the current growth
increment in elongation. The target would be on a slight angle at the bud.
This year when I prune my clients healthy peach trees I will take a picture
of the proper target. Fine pruning, fine pruning, fine pruning or you will
place the tree in a predisposition to receive secondary agents. These
agents then get the blame for the death of the peach tree when it is in
reality the pruning that caused the decline of the tree. Its not rocket
science but it is tree biology.
Those of you recommending harsh pruning please take some pictures of your
harsh pruning. Please place them on a web site so we can see what you mean.
In one year you can dissect the tree, if you have guts, and then show use
the results of your pruning to the symplast.
Again, the first and most important book you will ever read on pruning.
Your library can get it for you at no cost. It would, however, be a great
asset to your library if you purchase it.
Then once you have read the pruning book, all the information you will
require to care for the system is here. Its called MODERN ARBORICULTURE
Until those two books are understood it will be of little value to read
others. Many text books are incorrect still harboring myths and half truths
about trees! An excellent book on the topic would be 100 TREE MYTHS and
Free reading on the topic of predisposition.
The basic advantage trees have is that they have evolved with defense as
their theme. Their construction, physiology, chemistry, physics and all
their other properties and processes have developed with defense as a theme.
Humans have a big brain as their theme and trees have defense. The tree
"secret" is a generating system built around defense and a ready capacity to
adjust when their survival is threatened.
Strong defense depends on a high amount of energy reserves. When enrgy
reserves are low, defense is low. When pruning cause death of symplast to
the extent of peaches, potential energy storage (parenchyma cells) is
greatly reduced with harsh pruning. Trees store glucose (energy) in the
form of starch in living parenchyma cells. The webwork of parenchyma cells
in a tree stem and root is called the symplast. Harsh pruning (peaches)
greatly reduces the symplast. This greatly reduce potential for storge of
energy as well as reduction of defense.
Then the secondary organisms which understand this, come into play. They
are the clean-up crew. Then we spend money and risk health by the
application of toxic chemicals to kill secondary organisms and no more.
The only realistic thing to do for peaches is proper mulching:
And keeping pruning to fine pruning. Some books recommend just pruning 1/3
of the current growth in elongation. That is fine pruning. We do that and
we have so many peaches every year that we have to thin the peaches. Is
that not your goal? Well for many peach trees exposed to harsh pruning your
only option is to plant a new tree. Just try to find a healthy peach tree
to plant. That's another story. Correctly removing symplastless branches
is a good treatment for peaches as well. Just do not injure the symplast of
the parent stem.
This is what I have to offer at this time:
Two good articles on the benifits of proper mulching are here:
Remember, A Professional Understand Dose. How much do we remove?
Fine pruning with peaches. Proper mulching with peaches. Remember I am not
talking about the symplast removed as part of the branch removed in harsh
pruning. I am focusing on the response internally to the tree as a result
of harsh pruning of peach trees and the reduction of symplast as the result.
Words of wisdom: All parts of a tree are born alive.
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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