Pump Up Your Fruit Production

tie down branches

Today I’m sharing a September task that’ll really up your fruit production in your deciduous fruit trees – pears, apples, plums, apricots. An awesome party trick to slow growth down on over zealous plums and stubbornly upright pears.

It’s time to tie down young branches, to change their direction from up to out. Especially important on young fruit trees that you are shaping into perfect specimens. Also for older trees that have had an old branch removed and a newbie has burst forth.

Training a young pear by tying down branches edible backyard nz

Tying branches down opens  trees for light and air, and inspires loads more fruitful wood because the more horizontal the branch, the more fruitful it is.

The more horizontal the branch, the less inclined towards lush, unproductive growth it is. That’s how tree hormones roll. All the fruitful energy in a vertical branch happens at it’s tip. Tie a branch down and the energy shifts. Laterals pop up out of the branch, and where there was one – there are now many fruitful tips.

And September’s your moment! Sap is rising and this years growth ring begins to bust a move, making new wood soft and flexible. By time Autumn rolls around the wood has thickened, the years growth ring set in place and it’s time to remove the tie.

Here’s How

Using soft stocking tie, loosely tie one end to the branch and the other end back to the trunk or to a rock or tent peg in the ground. Loosely being of great importance – as in loose enough that you could also fit a finger through the loop. Easy peasy.


  1. Thanks Kath….great advice as always. A question: Would this tying down work with a persimmon?

  2. Brilliant! Just what we need to know. Thankyou

  3. Ruth Harrison says

    How about feijoas and citrus please Kath?

  4. Ho9w about pomegranate trees. Can one espalier pomegranates?
    Love your articles, David

  5. Hi Kath, thanks so much for this. Your website is such a fantastic resource.

    I’ve got a young (5ft) double-grafted pear with one upright stem for each graft. Should I be tying those down like in your photo even if that means no central trunk? Or just tie one down, or wait for laterals?

    Cheers, James

    • Hey James – leave each graft with one upright stem (leader) ok and tie down the shoots that come off each leader to create the branches. With a double graft you have 2 leaders instead of one as per the piccy – if that makes sense!

  6. Maxine Johnson says

    Hi Kath, I have bought your book and find it really informative along with your website & newsletters. Thank you. I was just wondering about your suggestion to make a notch to encourage a new branch, in the picture there is a bud. Is that bud there before you make the notch or does it appear after the notch is made. I have a tree I would like to make branch in a bare area, but there are no buds? Much appreciated Maxine