Pruning Fruit Trees

Ask Craig – Pruning Fruit Trees

With Winter fast approaching  now is a good time to start planning to prune deciduous fruit trees such as apples, pears and plums. These trees will fruit well whether or not they are pruned. But if the trees grow too tall the fruit is high and hard to reach, and when there is unproductive wood they don’t tend to crop reliably. The aim of pruning fruit trees in the home garden is to assist the tree to produce reliable quality crops, with good size fruit on a manageable size tree.

But the trees will need your attention and loving care. When pruning apples look for a central leader, and prune to make sure there are no competing branches. Pruning Fruit Trees - Adelaide Affordable Tree Removal

Remove and clear the clutter within the tree. We want a nice, open framework and not too many competing branches, because it won’t fruit properly. Remove any crossing and low branches.

Remember the shoot on the end of each tip is called a terminal and this won’t ever fruit, so reduce that to just five or six buds. There’s also a branch that comes off the side of the shoot at an angle of between 30 and 60 degrees and that’s called a lateral. Leave the laterals intact because they will develop fruiting spurs for next season. And the little stubby bits of growth, which are fruiting spurs, will develop apples this season. Try to prune a quarter of an inch past a bud and at an angle. And remove any old fruit left hanging on the tree.

Pears fruit on the little flowering spurs, just like apples, but they also fruit on the tip of one year old laterals, and so when pruning reduce the terminal and leave these to produce fruit for next year.

When pruning plums it is important to train the tree into a vase shape. This means opening up the centre of the tree to let in the light. Look for six to nine nice, strong branches that can form that framework. When working with a Japanese plum look to see what interferes with the shape of the tree. The next priority is to reduce any tall, whippy growth. Plums fruit on fruiting spurs and one year old laterals, so it’s important to remove any old or dead wood that’s cluttering the tree to encourage new growth. The ideal is to end up with a strong terminal with lovely fruiting spurs ready for this season’s plums.

Good hygiene is important so after finishing the pruning please ensure to collect the prunings, and dispose of them and remove any old, rotten fruit because these could harbour disease.

With the colder weather, it’s tempting to stay inside where it’s warm, however a little bit of effort pruning fruit trees will pay off massively.

Here Ed Laivo from Dave Wilson Nursery demonstrates how to prune your fruit trees.

 

 

 

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