Hello all, petal fall here very early season...

When I said that we were not confident with conversions I meant that this is a 
task that we do not encourage at first. 
- When you plant a young orchard you have time to hear it grow, drive 
corrective pruning if necessary, tune fertilizing... You can follow something 
similar to a recipe and adapt to your conditions, ask for advice...
- When you make a heavy restructuring of an orchard, putting saws into big 
wood, only experience can give you guidelines : both sides or only one side for 
first year, what will be the remaining load after first pruning, what will be 
the shoot reaction of the tree. Will the first year new wood, get flower buds 
on one year side wood...
Specially for a farmer with no support, this is a big risk for him and for the 
development of the concept. 

When you are on innovation development, one problem is to avoid "the" bad 
experience at young age that can kill even a good idea. At the very first years 
of developing the "mur fruitier" we developed orchards on specific farms with, 
what you call in US I think "lead users", we trained field advisors (mainly 
private), this is our "natural" behavior in such a case. At same time we 
followed all the main experiences throughout France specifically if they were 
suspected to be risky. We found cases were societies in very bad economic 
situations with no more money for pruning, took the opportunity of mechanical 
pruning to try to escape to bankruptcy... This is not of course the best 
situation for success. That's extreme case of course and I am pretty sure this 
is not a situation that you were thinking of. I think that, if an heavy 
restructuring would be experienced on an orchard, it would be done as a limited 
trial, with no economic risk for the orchard because it can give a big collapse 
to the money income...

Specifically on Con's arguments:
Consider that, when you mechanically prune a tree at 10 leaf shoot, you make a 
strong stress to the tree. Almost half of the photosynthesis factory is on the 
soil. When you live (like you do I think) with trees since decades you feel the 
tree... after this huge blind green pruning it stops breathing for at least 2 
weeks. I was not on the Centre at the very first trials but I am pretty sure 
that such a big foliage drop in august (may be 2/3 of canopy at that date) will 
not allow the tree to recover enough before fall to grow new "brindilles". You 
need "brindilles", not only spurs, because you need to get new bud wood without 
fruit to get the fruiting wood of the following years.
I think the big stress of the tree after pruning is responsible for the 
depressive effect on crop (harvest date delay, 2 mm less size...). Think of the 
stress of the orchard after a big hail damage that we all have seen in our life.
Following your recent observation (I hope I remember well sorry if it's 
property of another folk) on New Zealand situation, this a case were, the 
light, the long vegetative season and the exceptional soil fertility of NZ 
would be interesting to watch at.

I shall ask my colleagues for protocols and put them on a ftp.

IFTA visited us 2 or 3 seasons before. I don't remember fully but I think they 
took some pictures from the "mur fruitier" and we had a "discussion" at that 
If I remind, they took a picture of a declining sunny flower and me (the sunny 
flower only is declining !! no joke please) you will find on their web site if 
it's not too old stuff. 

Don't be cruel to my English...
Best regards


-----Message d'origine-----
De : apple-crop-boun...@virtualorchard.net 
[mailto:apple-crop-boun...@virtualorchard.net] De la part de maurice tougas
Envoyé : mardi 5 avril 2011 13:29
À : Apple-crop discussion list
Objet : Re: [apple-crop] "Pommier, Le Mur Fruiter"

Thank you Jean and Con,

You have made what on the surface appeared to be an easy transition,
into a most interesting, albeit time consuming, research project.

I assume now that when Jean states that he is "not confident with
conversions" in comment related to question two, having to do with the
timing of summer hedging, that you meant that you are not confident
with stating that we here in Massachusetts would find that the correct
timing for hedging would be 10 leaves, as opposed to not being
confident of the wisdom of conversion of training systems.

As you have both clearly stated that the single most critical aspect
of this system is determining the proper timing for summer hedging,
then proceeding with caution is advised.

Last summer the IFTA visited several NY orchards who were employing
modified summer hedging. Though they were not attempting to keep as
thin a wall as described, I believe they were performing the hedging
in August as suggested by Con.

Jean, would it be possible to receive the protocol you developed to
test for timing of summer pruning, or is it as simple as shearing at a
series of timings, and then watching for results?

Thanks again for your input.


On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 6:38 AM, Con.Traas <con.tr...@ul.ie> wrote:
> Hello all,
> Point 5 is in my mind probably the most vital to get right. If this does
> not work the system will not work.
> Quote:
> "5) This shearing shortly before solstice allows for short extension of
> growth. As solstice is passed, days begin to become shorter. As days
> become shorter, tree is keyed to shift from vegetative growth to
> reproductive, and so extension growth is limited and conversion of
> growth to fruiting bud initiation begins.
> 5/ yes that's the explanation from Louis Lorette who did a theorization
> of summer pruning in early 20th. In our case I am afraid that we did a
> more empirical work, designing trials to find the best pruning date in
> our conditions. The 10 leaves date, seems to work for France."
> I have been looking at summer pruning for many years, and in our part of
> the World, a 10 leaves point of pruning, or just around June 21st, does
> not work. In fact, for most varieties, early August, perhaps even the
> second week of August, is the appropriate time. The date at which a
> shoot can be headed with reasonable expectation of forming a fruit bud
> on resultant brindle seems to depend on crop load, soil nutrition and
> soil type (which can vary across a field or orchard), water
> availability, apple variety, use of gibberellin inhibitor (like
> prohexadione calcium) and then something like an "Indian Summer" (an
> unusually warm spell in mid August) can cause re-growth of buds which
> you would expect to set fruit buds, resulting in turn in no shoot tip
> fruit buds.
> What I am attempting to put across is that using mechanical pruning with
> this system is not without difficulty, and what may work well in France
> may not work so well elsewhere.
> A most interesting conversation; many thanks.
> Con Traas
> The Apple Farm
> Cahir
> Ireland
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> apple-crop mailing list
> apple-crop@virtualorchard.net
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Maurice Tougas
Tougas Family Farm
Northborough,MA 01532
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