In addition to the methods described under particular fruits a system of pruning has been devised by a Frenchman, M. Lorette, and bears his name. It is particularly applicable to trained apples and pears and, though primarily designed for the French climate, has proved very successful in some places in this country. The object is to force the stipulary buds, at the base of each side growth, to form fruit buds and so, in time, very compact spurs. Normally, these buds remain dormant and are all so small that they can scarcely be seen.
Briefly the system is as follows: At the end of April shorten leaders by about one-third their length. In mid-June prune side growths produced froth the remaining portion of each leader if they have attained the thickness of a lead pencil at the base. Only in. of each is retained. The terminal growth may be retained as a leader. In mid-July any further side growths that were not thick enough to be pruned in June are dealt with in a similar manner. In mid-August the process is repeated on still later side growths, and also any which may have grown from old fruit spurs or other parts of the tree. Any which are still weak should be bent down and tied in that position. No winter pruning is practised.
Starting Dormant Buds. Sometimes numerous buds remain dormant, with the result that whole lengths of branch are bare and profitless. This can be overcome by knifetedge ringing, i.e. drawing the edge of a knife right round the stem above the bare portion so that the bark is severed to the wood beneath, or notching, i.e. removing a triangular section of bark immediately above each dormant bud. Either operation should be done in early May.