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Most varieties produce a strong framework with little training. Prune mature avocado trees to restrict height and spread and for convenience in harvesting. Pruning maintains productivity of lower limbs by admitting light. Lighten ends of excessively spreading branches to prevent breakage caused by a heavy crop load. In tall, slender varieties, remove or shorten long branches in the top of the tree to prevent breakage. APRICOTS Prunus armeniaca Train to vase shape with three leaders. Apricot trees tend to spread excessively, so thin to upright wood.

Training can begin in the first summer. Dwarfs are trained to a central leader. Use a stake or wire to support espaliers. Semidwarfs are also trained to a central leader. Use a temporary support only if the tree is exposed to strong wind. Spread side limbs if necessary. Non-dwarf training involves developing three or four leaders at 20° to 30° from vertical. Head leaders annually and remove competing shoots. Spread secondary scaffolds if necessary. Training and Pruning, Individual Types—Each type of apple tree requires different methods of training and pruning to develop a strong structure and good fruiting habits.

PEARS Pyrus species Training Young Plants—Pears can be trained to a central-leader, multiple-leader, espalier or palmette. Central-leader trees are likely to be damaged severely by a disease called fireblight. Bartlett pears have soft, flexible wood that bends down easily with the weight of leaves. This makes central-leader training difficult because limb-spreading must be followed promptly by tying-up of limbs. Other varieties of European pear are more easily grown as central-leader trees. Head pear trees 24 to 30 inches above ground at planting.

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