Desbois Method (1911)



1911 article by Jean Desbois (source unquoted?)


System of summer pruning intended to develop strong fruiting shoots and leaves on vigorous, scion-rooted trees.


“Desbois replaced the winter pruning of fruit spurs by a summer pruning of unlignified wood shoots in July, when they are the thickness of a ‘crown piece’. He maintained that this resulted in the production, the same season, of weak growths either brindilles or dards, or even actual fruit buds. He also cut back or cut out the fruiting spurs in summer. He claimed that this system gave a series of very short shoots springing directly from the main branches, with few if any bifurcations. Desbois had remarked that vigorous trees with strong shoots and large leaves produced the best fruits, although such trees were difficult to bring into bearing. He was in the habit of strengthening his grafts by working them low on the rootstock, and he planted the tree below the union to ensure scion-rooting, with its resultant increase in vegetative vigour. Whereas orthodox methods of pruning, when applied to trees of this kind, merely increased the number of gourmand shoots, Desbois claimed that his system solved the problem by summer pruning the new shoots when they were the thickness of a crown.”
Paul Champagnat, The Pruning of Fruit Trees (1954 edtn. trans. N. B. Bagenal)

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Sounds like a rather counter-productive method for removing the most productive, mature bourse-on-bourse shoots.