How to Support Fruit Tree Branches

How to Support Fruit Tree Branches. Sometimes it's necessary to support the branches of trees that are laden with fruit in order to keep the branches from breaking. Generally, only a young tree will require this, since fruit should be thinned earlier in the season to an amount that a healthy branch can support. A young tree may not have yet developed the support structure to hold all the fruit it can produce, and so may need a little extra help from you.

Step 1

Prune away unhealthy branches. Branches that are diseased or damaged should be pruned away during the winter months to leave room for the stronger branches. This way you can spend your time helping the healthy branches grow as much fruit as possible.

Step 2

Support the trunk. If your tree is young and is already producing heavily, you may need to give extra support to the trunk of the tree. Place a pole in the ground next to the trunk of the tree, being careful not to damage the root system. Secure the trunk to the pole using ties that will stretch with the growth of the tree.

Step 3

Make a maypole. If many of the branches need to be supported, you can use a center pole as in Step 2 above and tie branches to it from above. Use several long pieces of nylon string tied to the top of the pole, and then insert a nail directly below them to keep them from sliding down the pole. You can use one or more strings to support each branch, tying the string at a point toward the end of the branch.

Step 4

Support individual branches. If only a few of the branches need to be supported, you can use stakes that are set 2 to 3 feet out from the trunk of the tree, underneath the branch to be supported. Bury them deeply enough that they are secure. Attach 2 small pieces of wood to the top of the stake in the shape of a "V" and then set the branch on it, tying it loosely to allow it to grow properly.

Step 5

Remove the support. After the tree has matured, the supporting pole next to the trunk should no longer be necessary and should be removed to prevent damage to the tree. Strings from the maypole can be removed at harvest, as can stakes supporting individual branches.