When to Start
When your tree is starting to have some wood on the bottom that shows you the time to start shaping and pruning is here. A lot of our new trees here are starting
to get really nice and big but believe it or not I'm going ahead and just bringing them back to about two feet with no branches.
If you've got your tree starting to come up, and it might even start to come to the
side a little bit you'll have like a little sprout coming off the other side. You could either cut it off where the main trunk is growing and then what's going to happen is this little sprout on the other side is going to get thick and then that'll get big. Then another sprout will shoot out below where you cut the main trunk.
Starting to Bush
That way you end up having something starting to form that is looking bushy.
You can let the branches grow to about 18" and then cut them. That cut should cause a couple of sprouts to form off the 18" piece. You keep doing that to every sprout that turns into a branch. After your third harvest you should have quite a few branches.
Keep the Center Clear
To keep the center clear you can clip the whole branch, not leaving any room for it to re sprout. Keeping the center clear is important to help with harvesting when the tree gets much bigger.
Even if you messed up or cut it back to where it had no branches but you gave it about a foot or two from the ground it'll push sprouts out from the main trunk. Then you can start over and shape it from there. You'll do something like this every winter anyway, if you live in a place that gets freezing nights, when your trees go dormant to protect them.
Looking for the Collar
If you want to know where it's likely your tree will sprout after you cut it, you can look for where your collars will form. When the collar forms it looks like a funny shaped upside down teardrop with a dot at the top. That's where a sprout will pop out of. When it doesn't have a sprout yet, you just see the dot at the top of the collar. So your looking for the holes or dots where the collar might form. Wherever that dot is below where you cut it, potentially that dot can turn into a bud, and then that bud will shoot out a sprout. Knowing where the collars may form can help you determine where to make your cut in order to get the tree shaped the way you want it. Make sure to save about 18" or so before making the cuts if you want that section to sprout new branches.
Cuttings Need Wood
If you are trying to plant cuttings you need to make sure those cuttings have wood on them. When they start getting bark the cambium layer is present and that cambium layer is what stores the ability to make a new root. The cambium looks like a diamond pattern.
Using Green Cuttings
Now my friend Jim, says he can clone a root or clone a top without wood on it,
in perfect conditions, if it has rooting hormone (you can use aloe vera) or if he's doing it in a hydroponic system. What he'll do is very similar to the avocado seed where you stick it with some toothpicks and you put it on a cup and you've got it touching the water it'll form some roots. You can do the same thing if you take some Moringa cuttings that are just green and you stick them in some water as long as you have a little bit of aloe vera mixed in there. You can use an aloe vera
gel that's acting as a rooting hormone.
I heard, contrary to popular belief that cinnamon (which people say can help with rooting) may not even have the rooting hormone. I think it's more so that cinnamon is more so anti-fungal which then prevents fungus from killing off the bottom. It's not that the cinnamon is actually helping to form the root, cinnamon is just helping to prevent fungus from forming which then would prevent the root from growing.
You can begin the shaping process of your tree when it starts to get wood on it. You can start from where your tree has first branched or at the main trunk. Leave around 18" and make a cut. Your tree will sprout a few times from that 18" piece. When those new sprouts get 18" long, cut them and they in turn will pop out a few more sprouts. Keep doing this until your tree is nice and bushy, but make sure to keep the center clear to make harvesting your tree much easier.
Peace, Love, and Prosperous Growing!
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