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Pruning Tamarillos

    17 responses

Chrus starts with ...
I've got a Tamarillo tree that I think may need a prune (see photo). It stands about 2.5 meters high and has had two years of fruiting. The first year we had some nice fruit, this year the fruit was very small (but plentiful, over 100 on the tree).
Given that we are in Melbourne and it's June; where, when and how would you advise me to prune.
I've taken some cuttings (just in case the surgery is fatal!).
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Chrus
Melbourne
4th June 2010 5:25pm
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Evo says...
Prune once you've taken the fruit off. July/August to be safe. Why are you needing to prune? They don't need much. I just thin for shape. Very simple.
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lionfish
 
4th June 2010 8:41pm
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Chrus says...
Thanks Evo, all advice is appreciated. I thought that pruning may help get better fruit, also the tree is getting too large.
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Chrus
Melbourne
5th June 2010 9:12am
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Evo says...
No worries. Be sure to toss any pruning material into some soil. These things cut really easily. In no time you'll have a Tama jungle... :>
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lionfish
 
5th June 2010 2:31pm
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epiphany says...
Prune right back to "a framework of branches" (ie right back to about 5-10cm of the beginning of the branches or as required to shape the tree) after harvesting all the fruit & there's no risk of frost...August or September is a good time but don't leave it too late or else the crop will be smaller. Tamarillos fruit on new wood & if you don't prune them, the risk of the fruit breaking the branches is greater (plus the fruit get smaller). Don't worry about pruning them too heavily...check out the pic further down this page to see how far you can go back! http://www.panui.org.nz/ManagingTamarillos.htm
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epiphany2
Melbourne
11th July 2011 5:01pm
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Original Post was last edited: 11th July 2011 5:01pm
Julie says...
My 1 year old tamarillo from seed is now 1.6m tall, and growing well.

I read that tams grown from seed are taller, and to prune them back. Can I pinch out the middle now, or have I left it too late? When it is larger, I'll take cuttings, as they supposedly don't grow as tall.

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Julie
Roleystone WA
2nd October 2013 7:23pm
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amanda says...
Not too late Julie...it will make it bushier = more fruit! :-)
Mine is flowering atm...and going gangbusters too...
I have staked the main branches to minimise breakages - they are quite fragile aren't they?
Luckily I have a great spot for mine that's out of the wind and the afternoon summer sun...
Such beautiful and dramatic looking plants - makes me feel like I am in the tropics!

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amanda19
Leschenault (150km south of Perth)
7th October 2013 11:13am
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Julie says...
amanda, I'm having a go at growing it in a Bonsai bag. So far so good. It's easier for me to give it the right conditions if I can move it around - it drooped horribly in the sun last year.

Those big leaves are attractive, but can't take a lot of hot sunshine.
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Julie
Roleystone WA
8th October 2013 7:42pm
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MaryT says...
Julie I've also found my tamarillo temperamental - I had it in a pot and carted in around every position in my garden and it failed to thrive. Now I have it in the ground wedged between the bamboo and the Davidson Plum and look what's it's done - it is also flowering! It's had its head snapped off once by wind and it just grew another one :)
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MaryT
Sydney
9th October 2013 8:36am
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Original Post was last edited: 10th October 2013 3:35pm
Julie says...
Looking good Mary - how old is it? Did you grow it from seed or a cutting?

Mine is looking so healthy with new growth, I'm finding the idea of pruning it quite hard. Guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and do it!
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Julie
Roleystone WA
9th October 2013 9:22pm
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Original Post was last edited: 9th October 2013 9:26pm
MaryT says...
I don't remember how long I've had it - a couple of years? It was given to me; probably a cutting. I would have mulched it long ago if it was not a gift :) We're expecting some wind in Sydney so it might have its head blown off a second time.
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MaryT
Sydney
9th October 2013 9:37pm
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amanda says...
They have such a shallow root system too...the roots on mine are coming up to the surface!
The root system of mine is in the shade and the soil is a gorgeous rich silty loam - always cool and damp.
It's near the south of the house and only gets morning sun in summer...(and very little sun in winter actually)

They do need lots of shade, shelter and water...
They would be ideal to grow up thru the branches of another plant - for support and shelter - I think anyway :)

Nice one MaryT - perhaps I might try out my theory above then...???
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amanda19
Leschenault (150km south of Perth)
10th October 2013 10:12am
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Original Post was last edited: 10th October 2013 10:13am
MaryT says...
Amanda I can't say I understand this tree at all. I fully expected it to die after wedging it in a little hole surrounded by other established plants/trees but it powered away. I can't see any roots; it must have burrowed to the centre of the earth. Oh it is also under the jacaranda. I don't even know if I'd like to eat a tamarillo since I'd never tried it. :)
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MaryT
Sydney
10th October 2013 3:46pm
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amanda says...
They are lovely and unique MaryT - but they do need some sugar added.. ;)
My Mum used to drop them in boiling water for maybe a minute or two - and then the skin just peels away - then slice thickly and macerate them with sugar (ie: sprinkle them with sugar)
Then serve with vanilla icecream...

Really, really good! :)

I am going to experiment with cuttings from my tree (from snottygobble actually!) and see how much shade etc it can take - as it's hard find to fruit trees for shady spots..?

They are also tougher than they seem - my Mum remembers one, from her childhood, in Christchurch in NZ - and it would just regrow after the frost..!?

They grow them extensively in NZ - so they must be able to take some cold I figure...?
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amanda19
Leschenault (150km south of Perth)
12th October 2013 12:31pm
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MaryT says...
Thanks, Amanda. It'd better be really, really good; it's had more attention than anything else. :) The wind came and shredded the leaves a bit but the flowers hung on. Quite a lot of flowers. Let's see if they translate to fruit.
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MaryT
Sydney
12th October 2013 2:14pm
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JanP says...
My Tamarillo was planted in spring 2013 and has grown to over 3 metres before showing signs of maybe developing branches. I think I should prune it down to two metres approx to encourage branching at a more accessible height. Are there any comments on this?
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JanP
Northcote
21st April 2014 2:16pm
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KitschWitch says...
Hi JanP. Is your tamarillo in a frosty spot?

I'm in Canberra, and have had different experience each year with my tamarillo--planted next to a north facing wall and under an eave for protection.

For the first year, it frosted off severely, started to rot so we cut it off just above ground level, and it reshot just above that.

Next year the frost didn't hit it so hard, but all of the flowers and leaves were killed. More branches from low down. It flowered and fruited, but since that didn't happen until after last frost (early November) there wasn't time for the crop to fully ripen before the weather was cool (May-June) so the fruit were very sour.

Then it grew quite high and is up under the eaves. Last winter the leaves and flowers all survived. It even flowered during winter! So was off to a running start. We have ended up with tonnes of fruit, and they've been ripe enough to eat since March and will probably continue for another month or so. BUT the fruit are small, since there are so many of them.

After reading a lot about them, I've decided to prune half of the tree hard this winter. Hopefully the flowers and fruit will survive the winter again, get a good start, and ripen in good time. But with somewhat fewer, larger fruit.

I really like the fruit--like a cross between passionfruit (flavour) and kiwifruit (visual) and firm tomato (texture). I cut them in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. I eat them plain, but leave about 5-10 mm next to the skin as it's more sour. Which is why larger fruit would be great :)

So, for your tamarillo, if you don't get frost (or not much), I would prune it now to about one metre. It will reshoot pretty quickly and should keep going through the winter and take off in spring.
If it's frosty, I wouldn't prune it until you've seen how the plant handles the frost in your location. The eave above it may be enough to give the higher branches good protection.

I noticed some comments above about where to plant them. Mine is in full sun (although partly under the north side eave) and we had 2 weeks of extreme dry heat this summer (above 40C), and it did fine. I gave it a deep water when the leaves drooped, which was every few days. The roots must be well established now, as in previous (milder)summers the leaves have drooped after every hot day.
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KitschWitch
Canberra
22nd April 2014 1:38am
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Original Post was last edited: 22nd April 2014 1:35am
bmackie says...
First year with a tamarillo tree (it's about 4 years old).Lots of flowers which resulted in about 10 tamarillos only! Tree grew and grew with many leaves. Do the flowers self pollinate? My bees around here are obsessed with the lavender and don't go anywhere else. Also, do I pinch off the new growth once the fruit is set? I also had a massive infestation of aphids which decimated the leaves. It in a sunny spot out of the wind. I water it faithfully!
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bmackie
WILLIAMSTOWN NORTH,3016,VIC
16th February 2021 12:21pm
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