If this past summer you had lots of branches on your fruit trees, but not a lot of fruit, here is a simple trick to use.
1. Wait until each shoot on your tree is 1 to 1.5 feet (.3 to .5 m) long and then weigh down the tip with one or two clothespins or a small piece of wood tied to the tip of the branch
2. Once the tip of the branch is lower than the shoot, its growth will slow down and the outer buds become fruitful.
3. Remove the clothespins (or pieces of wood if you used those instead) during the winter; by then the branches will keep their shape.
4. In the spring weigh down the tips of any other shoots you want to bear fruit.
This Trick Is Great For Cherry Trees
Sweet cherry trees, more than any other fruit trees, grow straight, vertical branches. The more vertical the branch, the more vegetative the growth.
By bending branches 30 to 60 degrees, you will have fewer leaves and more fruit. Tree scientists believe that bending branches slows the draining of hormones that are critical for fruiting - and the fruit is what we want!
Bending Branches Works On Suckers Too!
This trick even works to turn suckers and water sprouts into productive branches. Suckers and water sprouts are only useless if they keep growing straight up.
If you bend any shoot over, it will slow down the growth and you can make it into a useful and fruitful branch.
Note: Any suckers that form below the graft union on any grafted fruit tree should be removed since they are part of the rootstock and not growing from the wanted fruiting variety.