“Fruit trees will grow and bear without pruning. Among fruit growers there is a considerable party working on a policy of no pruning. Nevertheless, the large majority of practical and scientific men recognize the necessity of pruning of some sort and for all kinds of fruit trees. The argument sometimes advanced that pruning is unnatural and, therefore necessarily wrong, is particularly worthless. All methods of agriculture and horticulture are unnatural. All our work with plants is based on interference with nature’s methods. Only the savage who gathers his fruits from wild trees and vines follows the scheme of nature unrestrained.“
F. A. Waugh, Beginners Guide to Fruit Growing, 1913 edition, chapter 4.
I think it’s safe to say that F. A. Waugh was not a permaculturist…
However, a growing body of evidence has developed over the past 30 years or so, indicating that minimal intervention is a much better way of establishing young trees, by allowing them to develop their natural architecture and morphology.
More on that in later posts.