Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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5 The Top Five Top five ways to grow large CHERRIES Start by pruning to eliminate potentially small fruit. by Melissa Hansen T he days of a moderate-sized cherry crop in the Pacific Northwest are gone, short of widespread weather events that reduce the crop. With more than 50,000 acres of sweet cherries planted in Washington and Oregon, last year's record-setting crop of 23.2 million 20-pound boxes will be more common as young orchards planted to high density come into full production. "We've got a lot of cherries planted," said Lynn Long, Oregon State University Extension educator for Wasco County. "Nowadays, when we have a moderate- to largesized crop, we have difficulty selling all of the fruit. We don't need more cherries on the market. What we need are high quality cherries for the market." The way to produce large fruit, he said, is to prune to eliminate small fruit on the tree. "Pruning is by far the most important thing a grower can do to produce large, high quality cherries. Whether trees are on full-size or dwarfing rootstock, with today's market conditions, there's just no point in growing small cherries." Long offered the following pointers to help growers produce large fruit: 1 Prune out small and pendant wood. This is especially important with Gisela rootstocks, but also with trees on Mazzard, Long said. "How many times have you seen pendant wood in a Mazzard tree where there's no new growth at the end of the branch? Let's get rid of that wood that will produce 11.5- and 12row fruit and focus on growing the 9-row fruit." 2 Keep the leaf-to-fruit ratio in balance. The leaf-to-fruit ratio is important with all rootstocks, but is especially critical with productive rootstocks. He recommends having at least six leaves for every 24 May 15, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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