Pruning Fruit Trees

An Essential And Helpful Guide on Pruning Fruit Trees

Pruning fruit trees at the right time, using correct methods, is beneficial in several ways. To mention a few, it aids in removing weak and diseased branches, promoting new shoot growth and increasing fruit productivity.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Fruit trees are mostly grown for their edible fruits, while most of them do enhance the aesthetic value of any home landscape design. Imagine the beauty of a well-maintained orchard with fruit trees all around. During the non-fruiting time, the luxuriant foliage gives a greenery touch in the garden. And when the fruiting period arrives, you will get to enjoy the blossoms, after which small fruits will develop and mature with time. So, it won't be wrong if I say fruits trees are valuable for all seasons.

As with any other plants, fruit trees require special care and attention for optimal growth. Besides providing sufficient nutrients and optimal growth conditions, you need to trim the branches at regular intervals. Pruning fruit trees is necessary to remove dead and diseased parts, while stimulating development of new shoots. Hence, unlike trimming ornamental plants to give canopy shape, fruit trees pruning is aimed at controlling their growth and at the same time, minimizing disease infestations.

How to Prune Fruit Trees?

Various fruit tree pruning techniques are employed to increase the fruit yield. In addition, timely trimming reduces the risk of developing weak branches, thus minimizing their breakage due to fruit load and harsh environmental conditions. In short, correct methods of pruning and training fruit trees are important to ensure high productivity and longevity. Mentioned below are some of the fruit tree pruning tips, which you can apply during fruit gardening:

Required Supplies
In order to trim the branches of young fruit trees, you require appropriate garden tools, namely, secateurs and loppers (or pruning saw). While for pruning old fruit trees that are tall, you will need more sophisticated loppers, preferably telescopic pruners. Or else, you can use ladder and regular pruning saw to trim high branches.

Correct Time
Many times, we come across gardening experts highlighting importance of timely and regular pruning of plants. So, when to prune fruit trees? The ideal time for pruning fruit trees like apricots, plums, cherries is early spring of every year, a period when they are still in their inactive or dormant state. While winter is best to prune pear and apple trees. In both cases, you will notice quick healing of the pruning wounds. Weak and diseased branches can be removed at any time of the year.

Technique
Determine the shape of the fruit trees, which will ensure maximum fruit bearing for the particular variety. This step is important because an apple tree is pruned in a central leader system and a peach tree is best pruned in an open center system. In the former technique, the main stem is retained and you cut back the lateral branches; whereas the main stem is pruned and the lateral branches are given importance in the latter method.

Pruning Branches of Fruit Trees
First, trim suckers (if any), dead and diseased branches. In the early stages of growth, you should also remove drooping branches and inward growing branches. Your ultimate goal is to select four to five healthy main limbs that are spaced evenly, while removing branches formed at narrow crotch angles. To get a good yield, snip off the flowers and young fruits for the first two fruiting seasons. All fruits trees should be pruned annually during the dormant stage.

Pruning Old Fruit Trees
Old fruit trees, the name itself gives an impression of large, neglected trees. In order to stimulate new shoot growth, cut back all the dead and diseased branches. In case, the old fruit tree still appears overcrowded, consider cutting more branches, while retaining a few of the healthy ones. By doing so, you are increasing sunlight penetration and giving space for development of new productive shoots.

Growing and caring for healthy fruit trees is such a relaxing hobby, that you will certainly enjoy to the fullest. And with this useful guide to prune fruit trees, I hope you will succeed in maintaining healthy fruit trees in your yard and harvesting a good yield every year.