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Need help with baby bradford

Discussion in 'Nurseries and Growers' started by Envy Lawn Service, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Hey guys...

    I have this account where I had a tree just sprout up in the mulch bed, wild I guess. Well, it looked like a bradford, so I let it be a while. The older it gets, the more it looks to me like a bradford. I'll include some pics...

    Anyways, I've snipped some odd looking stuff off of it once. Just tried to shape it up a hair. Since then, and it's not been real long, new shoots have grown about 10" off to the sides of my pruning cuts. Now it is right about 5 feet tall.

    I've never messed with trees like this that are this small and I was wondering if you nursery men could give me some pointers because I'm totally in the dark? I want to encourage a well shaped and strong tree. But I don't think I know how.

    Thanks.

    bradford leaves.jpg
     
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Here is another to kind of show the shape it was.

    10.jpg
     
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    And from a different angle...

    2.jpg
     
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Whew, that one was grainy... here's another...

    8.jpg
     
  5. lwcmattlifter

    lwcmattlifter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 859

    Envy, that's definitely a Bradford. I was told by a nursery guru a while back that your supposed to prune the vertical growing branches so that their at least 6"-12" shorter than the main vertical branch. If you have any branches tangling with each other or growing down or parallel to the ground they should be removed. The idea is to create a tree with 45-90 degree branches. You can make spacers to train the tree to grow the way you want it.

    Matt
     
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Thanks Matt...

    It had a large branch pretty close to the ground that got broken off somehow and I figured it wouldn't make it, but it has so far. It also has another pretty good sized branch coming off the lower trunk area that is growing up vertically. I thought about cutting it off also. But I've never encountered a Bradford at this age and I do not know how they grow to know how far up the trunk I should keep the branches removed, ect.

    Do you know when it is best time of year to trim/thin/shape them at this young age?
     
  7. cancan

    cancan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    bradfords....lot of opinions on that tree....lwc gave ya good pruning advise.

    bradfords will rarely make a strong tree...get big just where your gonna enjoy them and ice or snow storm will break em up....they're tearin em outta commercial areas wholesale up here...alot of nurseryman consider it a trash tree but the masses seem to like it....its a 50/50 chance weather it breaks up or not 10 years down the road .....jmho.

    you can make small pruning cuts anytime(pencil size wood or a little bigger)
    make larger structural cuts later between autumn to early spring. when you remove a whole branch suckering will happen(this needs to be thined) sometimes its better to remove branches in two cuts on proceeding years (remove half the first and to the branch collar the second year) ...this will keep most species from suckering so bad.

    id pull it out and give em a sourwood(if its not real shady)......
     
  8. lwcmattlifter

    lwcmattlifter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 859

    Envy, I agree with cancan on the pruning. Bradfords used to be used very heavily in my area because it's an inexpensive fast growing tree, provides good shade cover, fall color and spring blossoms. If not taken care of the branches get very heavy and you can lose large portions of your tree in 10-15years. There are trees that make it more than 25 years. I removed one Friday that was close to 30 years old. It fell during a heavy storm. 1/3 of the root system had grown under a driveway and rotted so it was only a matter of time until it fell. The whole tree uprooted and took part of the drive with it. Although it's not the strongest tree out there, I wouldn't remove it since it does give nice spring and fall color.
     
  9. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    Hurry, take some loppers and cut it off at the root! Don't let it grow any taller. lol
     
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    OK, here is my snare on this...

    As I said, I did a minor amount of quick trimming prior to posting this thread.
    Just a little shaping is all.

    The main vertical branch/trunk had an ugly crook in it, so I snipped it off just below there.

    Now, everything seems fine with the tree.
    In fact, the little bugger has grown more than 10" past the crops I made on it.

    The trouble is, it has grown these 10" shoots out from my crops. Like one shoot off the side of the old crop. Well, some of the shoots are growing down, or parrallel to the ground. This is also true for the shoot off the top crop. The actual top where I cropped it off below the crook is producing nothing. But there is a 10" angular upright shoot off one side of the main beam crop.

    So I think I might have really screwed up by cropping the top like that. Now I have that angular shoot on the top that likely will need cutting off also. Errrr...
     

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