Pruning Time Nears for Fruit Trees and Tips for Trimming Trees


Pruning Time Nears for Fruit Trees and Tips for Trimming Trees

pruning garden

The time is nearing for dormant season pruning of fruit trees. Even though February is often considered the best month to prune them, it is not too early to begin thinking about the right way to do it.

Pruning is a very important part of fruit tree management. Knowing how to correctly prune your fruit trees will greatly enhance both fruit production and tree health.

Apples and pears produce best when pruned to a modified central leader. Overgrown or neglected trees are very difficult to bring into proper form, so prune apple and ear trees every year for best results.

Central leaders do not just happen to grow on these trees. Proper training essentially begins at the moment you plant the tree. Three to five evenly spaced branches are chosen at the end of the first growing season. These branches form the first set of limbs on the tree.

Spacers are then used to force all but one branch toward the horizontal or at an angle of no more than 45 degrees. The one branch left alone will grow upward where you can prune it about two and one-half feet above the first tier of limbs. This location will form the second tier of branches.

When the next pruning season comes around, choose the strongest of the branches to be the modified central leader. Again, spread the remaining limbs as you did with the first tier of limbs. This leader is topped at the desired point of the third tier of limbs. Continue to prune in this manner until the tree reaches the proper height. Allow the tree to grow only as tall as convenient for harvesting fruit.

Peach and plum trees are pruned during this time, too. These trees are first to cut off about thirty inches above the ground when planted. This forces the side buds to grow and leaves an open center in the tree. If your tree happens to be shorter than thirty inches, let it grow and pinch out the top once it reaches that height.

Four to six branches are selected to be the scaffold branches. Ideally, the chosen branches should be evenly spaced around the trunk and six inches apart up and down it. All other limbs are removed. New buds will sprout along the trunk as the tree grows. Remove them so you will have a neat, clean trunk now and less mess to prune later. The following winter allows for the removal of any new lateral branches. Extremely long branches are shortened to promote a uniform tree shape.

By the third year, you can expect a few peaches and plums. Prune lightly the third winter, as growth will be slowed because more energy went to the fruit and not to the foliage. New branches and “water sprouts” should be removed. Water sprouts are those vigorously growing branches that grow straight up and do not branch. Tip prune any lateral branches that grew exceptionally long to maintain the tree’s correct form.

Peaches and plums should be pruned moderately each year. Branches that grow toward the center of the tree are removed to allow for good air circulation and more sunlight to reach the leaves. More sunlight means more food production that leads to sweeter fruit. About one-third of the growth is removed every year. Certainly, this may mean less fruit; however, the fruit you harvest will be larger.

Having attractive and productive home orchards require a lot of work and patience. I encourage you to select only those varieties approved for Hardiness zone growing conditions. Proper fruit tree management will enable you to reap the “fruits” of your labor.

Summer Tree Pruning Practices

Most homeowners give little thought to their landscapes in the winter. As spring arrives and outdoor chores ramp up, they again notice pruning needs left undone from the previous season. Low-hanging branches brushing their caps as they mow, branches and leaves brushing against structures or dead branches that were not noticeable while trees were in dormancy are commonly noted this time of year.

Fortunately, most tree species can be pruned during the growing season without concern of disease or insects entering the tree. Several other tree species have seasonal or weather-related pruning restrictions. However, there may be summer pruned as long as you’re aware of species-specific restrictions and avoid those situations. Research has shown that wound response to summer pruning is excellent and the process of sealing wounds begins immediately, making summer pruning a good option in most instances.

Some of the most common purposes for summer pruning include raising the canopy for mowing, walking or driving clearance, pruning for clearance to structures and removal of deadwood. A well-trained arborist will also assess the tree for structural problems, make note if there is an appropriate root flare and be able to provide a good evaluation of general tree health.

Homeowners will also often thin trees to improve grass growth below. This is seldom effective and the effect is short-lived as the trees will quickly regain their original densities. Converting to more shade-tolerant grass species, mulch and groundcovers is a much better option when the turf is performing poorly because of shade.

10 Tips for Trimming Beautiful Trees

10 Tips to Trimming Beautiful Trees

Basic Rules for Trimming

For various reasons, we must trim plants from time to time.  The reason may be to structure, to ramify, to reduce or even to increase fruit or flower production.

Whatever the reason, the best time to do so is between November and March when the vegetation is resting. However,  frosty periods should also be avoided. Light trimming can be done during Spring or Summer. For flowering bushes, you should wait till the end of blossoming. For Spring flowering bushes,  like currant plants, you run the risk of eliminating the buds if you trim before Winter. For Summer flowering bushes, you should do so before vegetation commences.

A clean cut is important and you should put a protective covering on the bigger cuts. For a clean cut, first saw underneath the branch and then above it. This avoids tearing the bark. Cut just above an eye, as the opening will heal easier (it is close to a flow of sap).

Use appropriate tools and sharp blades. You will avoid risks of plant disease if you follow these basic rules.

Tips for Trimming

Whether you have coniferous, deciduous, or fruit-bearing trees, there is a certain amount of maintenance that needs to be done each year to keep them healthy. Trimming and pruning are especially important as it prevents damage from spreading. To keep your trees full and beautiful, here are a few pruning tips from your professional tree trimming service.

1/ Know when to trim

The best time to trim your tree is during the cold season. Fall and winter usually cause most trees to go dormant. When this happens, it’s easiest to trim the tree because there are no leaves to inhibit your view of the buds and branches.

2/ Don’t trim just any branch

Before you start pruning, it’s important to consider the size of each branch. If a branch is less than 5 centimeters in diameter, it’s fine to trim. If the branch is any larger than that, you may want to reconsider. Unless there is an important reason to trim the branch, these large, strong branches should remain intact.

3/ Trim weak and damaged branches

The point of pruning a tree is to remove branches that are preventing the tree from putting all of its energy into healthy branches. If a branch is weak or damaged, it should be pruned. Lateral branches should be about one-half to three-quarters of the diameter of the stem. If they are less than this, they are okay to be cut off.

4/ The Earlier the Better

If you catch weak or damaged branches when they are younger, it’s better to prune them. This reduces the risk of scars and shock to the rest of the tree.

5/ When trimming a tree

never remove more than one-quarter of the branches at a time. This could cause the tree to go into shock. If more than one-quarter needs to be trimmed, spread it out over the course of a few years.

6/ Trees should never trump safety

If your trees are in danger of damaging power lines or homes, it’s time to trim them. It’s also important to provide a clear path for pedestrians and drivers. Carefully prune a tree to ensure that you and others are kept safe.

7/ When pruning a tree

Keep the lateral branches evenly spaced out. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but it promotes healthy growth for the tree.

8/ If you Need to Remove More

If you need to remove more than half of the branches and leaves from its stem, it’s better to remove the whole branch. This prevents damage from spreading.

9/ Be sure to wear protective gear when pruning.

Eyewear, gloves, and harnesses should be worn to prevent injury.

10/ Call a professional when you are unsure about how to proceed.

Trees can be tricky to trim. If you aren’t sure how to prune your branches, leave it to the professionals. Pruning your trees is important to the growth of branches and the overall health of your tree. Whether you choose to trim them yourself, make sure that your trees are well taken care of.

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