Branching Out

notchingI hate a glaring gap, an empty space on a fruit tree where a branch should be … needs to be! Here’s a simple, old school trick to stimulate a bit of branching out.

Choose a lovely fat bud in the locale of the wished for branch. Using something sharp take a slice out of the bark, above the bud. Above being important, if a branch is what you are wanting. It’ll put a stop to the flow of life juice, the hormones will gather (not something we usually celebrate) and shoot out a branch for you. Or rather it may shoot out a branch for you. Because we all know that playing with nature has no guarantees. I have (to reassure you) had good success with this, winning more than loosing. The loosing comes from older trees who, it would seem, aren’t interested in branching out, but don’t let this stop you trying.

I have seen a rasp used to rub into the bark (ouch), a hacksaw, a knife – I use my seceteurs. Your slice needs to go halfway round the trunk. For what I hope are obvious reasons, don’t go the whole way.

Best done 4 – 6 weeks before buds open, which is right about now.


  1. Hiya,
    Thanks heaps for posting this tip. Good to have your talk on pruning reinforced.

    • Hi David, thats why I posted it – I felt I glossed over it too fast on the 1st. Under the bud stimulates action too but fruiting spurs rather than branches – a big difference! best Kath

  2. Does the cut heal and allow sap flow through that half of the tree again?