|Pruning why its important
Tree pruning and training are essential for the production of high-quality, unblemished, exportable cherimoya. A strong tree needs to be created that can support and protect its fruit and set a good crop of flowers, with enough leaf growth after flowering so fruit is covered. This prevents skin damage from the sun, dew and cold winds (which can cause blackening), and provides a good canopy layer that protects fruit from windrub and birds.
A nicely shaped tree
Mature trees are kept at a low height of 22.5m, which keeps fruiting wood within easy reach and allows for pollinating, harvesting and pruning to be done from the ground, eliminating the need for ladders.
Trees begin to bear fruit in the third season after planting out. By then a strong framework should be in place to carry a heavy crop as the average fruit weighs about 600800gm and each tree has the potential to hold 100 or more fruit (a crop load of over 60kg). Tree shape is naturally quite open with long branches that can break under moderate cropping. Pruning to create a strong compact canopy helps protect trees from strong winds that can break branches or even blow trees over if the root system gets too stressed. Removing low branches provides a clean trunk, reduces the chance of fruit drooping to ground level and rotting, and allows for better air circulation (which helps prevent fungal diseases). It also makes weed control and mowing much easier.
Bad scarring resulting from wind damage
Flowers normally appear on one or two-year old wood (although some will form on older wood). Correct pruning helps by setting a large number of flowers at desirable locations on the tree that can then be pollinated. Setting good crops will keep trees in a reproductive mode, preventing excessive vegetative growth (which is usually followed by a reduction in flower numbers). Too much vegetative growth also reduces light penetration for ripening and even colour development, and affects access for working on the trees.
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