March 22, 2020
Now that spring is just around the corner, you may be thinking of the warm weather to come and how everything will soon turn green. We need to remember out fruit trees and the care that they need prior to the warm weather arriving.
When to Prune
Fruit trees need to be pruned regularly if you are wanting an abundance of fruit. Typically, you prune a fruit tree one way for lots of fruit, and another way for it to become a shade tree. We are going to be talking about pruning for lots of fruit!
The best time to prune a fruit tree is in the late winter or very early spring – while the tree is still dormant, before any new growth appears. Apple trees should be pruned in the winter, but can be pruned into the spring and summer if it is necessary. Avoid pruning in the fall as it can stimulate new growth when the tree is trying to prepare itself for winter.
The best time to prune a fruit tree is in the late winter or very spring, before any new growth appears.
How to Prune
We want to create the right shape for your tree. The tree should be slightly conical when you are done. The base of the tree should be wider than the top.
Each tree will have a main trunk. From this, we have scaffold branches (next largest size branch). A tree should have 2-6 primary scaffold branches depending on the age of the tree.
- Once you’ve located the main trunk and the scaffold branches, remove the rest of the branches. Keep the ones that are in a 45-50 degree arch from the trunk. When pruned, your tree should look like spokes on a wheel when looking from the top down.
- Remove all sucker branches. They are unwanted shoots that grow near the base of the trunk.
- Remove any dead wood.
- Remove any downward growing branches or branches growing straight up.
- Remove whols. These are the small branches coming from the same location on a scaffold branch.
- Next, cut all branches back by 1/3 – this includes the scaffold branches. Not more than this.
Next week we’ll discuss how to spray your fruit trees with dormant oil. We’ll explain what it is, and why it is important in maintaining a healthy tree.