Most stone fruit cultivars have a spreading growth habit and are easily trained to a freestanding open vase. The system is widely planted in many stone fruit production areas because it is easy to manage and sunlight is intercepted throughout the day. Three to four wide-angled, evenly spaced scaffolds are selected off a short trunk. The primary scaffolds are allowed to branch into secondary and tertiary branches, with fruiting wood developed in all sections of the canopy. General tree shape varies depending on microclimate and cultivar characteristics. For instance, California peach trees are trained to taller, more upright forms than eastern U.S. trees; some plum cultivars, e.g., 'Santa Rosa', are more spreading than others, e.g., 'Wickson'. Although open center training is currently the most widely used system with stone fruit, this may change as breeders introduce new size-restricting rootstocks and tree forms. Several growth types developed through U.S. Department of Agriculture breeding programs are the spur-type, weeping, and columnar forms.
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