Pruning tip bearing and spur bearing fruits


Hi there! 

Although I have a lot of land to plant these babies, we just want to concentrate on a smaller piece of land first, ie, the one with most of the fruit tree. 

A lot of the older fruit tree has fallen down, or ripped by elephant. We have a lot of langsat/ciku/dukung, guava, durian, cempedak but only one mangosteen, one pulasan. And my dad space them tooo far apart. Therefore, giants durian, giant guavas and giant cempedak. Sigh. 

I prefer smaller but bountiful fruit tree. To achieve this, we must prune religiously, as we have summer all year long. Thus, no dormant time for us. :(

From my intensive reading online, I could compare on the difference of pruning between tip bearer and spur bearer. 

Tip bearer fruits. 

( Rambutan, pulasan, mangoes, ciku, longan) 
* Applicable for tropical country, you have to adjust the frequency according to your location.

1. Determine the height you want. After planting, prune to the desired height. Ie, 2-3 foot from ground. Prune the top off. 
2. Choose 4-6 strong second branch. When the first flush finish, or if the next branch reach 20 inches long, cut them. 
3. Cut any upshoot, water shoot too. It is better to tie you main trunk so it will be horizontal. As well as damaged, crossing branch. 
4. The second branch will branch again, and once they reach 20 inches, prune them again. This will make it into nice canopy, as well as encourage branches for the tip bearer. 
5. Keep cutting when they reach 20 inches, only stop if they are flowering. If you don't mind to get the fruit later, cut them. They will branch again.
6. Make sure not to prune more than 30-33% of the total pruning, as this will force the tree to set the leaves, not flower.

Spur bearer fruits

(Jambu/guava, chillies, durian)

1. Determine the overall lower branch. If you want the branch to be lower,
 top the plant at the desired height. Although durian have their own smaller branch that you could choose. Tie them down to make it horizontal. The reason for it to be as horizontal as possible is that horizontal branch bear more fruits than vertical. 
2. Cut the next flush one third of the length. Prune flower shoot to 1-2 main bud below, so it will force to have more flower spur. 
3. Repeat. If you want to make it into espalier shape, cut the top where the next top branch should be. 

I think the spur bearing is more easier to prune than tip bearer. But you'll never know if you don't try, right? Most of the fruit trees will try to survive, however severe you prune it. To prove this, I have a durian tree that is half split that still happily sprouting spur and sideshoots. Amazing. Most people told me not to prune durian trees, but a lot of thailand's durian tree is prune, so I guess if the biggest durian importer could do it, why shouldn't I? I could always buy a new one. :) 

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