Pruning and Training to an Open Center
Pruning a young tree controls its shape by developing a strong, well-balanced framework of scaffold branches. Unwanted branches should be removed or cut back early to avoid the necessity of large cuts in later years. The pruning system best suited for all stone fruits that keeps the fruit-bearing surface close to the ground is called the "open center." Pruning and training the trees to this system produces a vase-shaped tree. All stone fruits are very susceptible to brown rot. Open-center trees allow better air circulation and light penetration within the tree--both important factors in reducing the development of brown rot on fruit.