I was going around my yard several times yesterday shaking my fruit tree branches to drop the heavy snow so the branches wouldn't break. I lost the top branches of an apple tree last summer from the weight of the fruit and the snow was bending the remaining branches way down.
Does anyone else do that?
I wondered if I should have just let them go. Maybe I pruned them to be too open. We only get heavy wet snow once or twice a year.
I was wondering, for that reason, if it might be a good idea to train branches downwards, or else straight up, depending on position and light considerations, rather than generally horizontally. That way, they would be encouraged to shed snow themselves, like an appropriately pitched roof, rather than trapping it all.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
I would always shake my trees after a heavy snow at my old house. Especially heavy early fall snows with the leaves still on. Not sure what I'll do when I have acres of them, though.
I've seen peaches in people's yard supported by scrap wood towards the end of the summer with a heavy crop. Some orchards around keep barrels of scrap 2x4's, I would imagine to support the branches. I've never personally seen the orchard do it, but they seem to have the scrap, just in case. I would imagine some burlap or something similar to 'cushion' the bark would be beneficial.
I would even think a long stick/board with a Y cut into it to shake the higher branches could be beneficial, for winter times.
If you have 5 trees and lose one, it is a 20% hit to production.
If you have 500 and lose 10, it is a 2% hit.
Simple risk/reward and part of that zone 1 higher management involvement.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus