Happy Halloween to our Menchhofer Tree Care family of customers! Today’s entry covers Fruit Tree Pruning:
For most of us, planting fruit trees seems to be such a good idea until a few years later, when you have a bunch of bushes that are just drawing bugs instead of providing you with organic fruit. However, pruning can keep this in check and give you the beautiful trees you envisioned.
Pruning isn’t necessarily brain surgery, but the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service does lay out quite a few guidelines and rules for those who are serious about tree pruning, which we will use here to lay out the easiest ways for you to do some at home pruning.
You should note that if your trees are already out of control, you should contact a professional to bring your trees back to good health. Either way, most of are dealing with pome fruits – apples, pears, and quince – or stone fruits – peaches, cherries, plums, apricots, and the same basic formula can be used for all of them.
3-Step Fruit Tree Pruning
Phase 1: Cleaning Up
Start by cleaning up anything that is dead, damaged, or diseased. If there are any sprouts at the bottom of the tree, cut those away as well because they can such nutrients out of the tree that actually produces fruit.
Make sure that when you are cutting, you aren’t leaving any little nubs that can just sprout back, cut them flush!
Phase 2: Thinning Out
You want light and air to be able to hit throughout the tree, which not only boosts fruit production, but it also reduces problems like diseases and pests.
Remove any branches that aren’t growing toward the light, as they are just weighing your tree down.
Then, stand back and note the branches, try to make a pattern in your mind so that the branches are evenly spaced all around the tree. Cut away the excess branches. You want about 6-12” of air space between each branch.
Phase 3: Cutting Hair
The last step is the easiest one of all – give the tree a haircut. Prune the outermost growth so that everything is shorter and more uniform. This will cause the branches to be shorter and stocky, which means they will be able to bare more fruit. You should aim to cut off about 20-30% of the growth from the year before.
A little confused? This video will be able to help you visualize the process:
If it all seems to be too much, call up Menchhofer Tree Care and we will help you throughout the entire process – from planting to pruning.