Fruit tree pruning

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by munchy, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. munchy

    munchy Monkey+++

    okay so I have a little orchard with a couple apple pear and cherry trees. It has'nt been taken care of for the last 10 years or so. The snow has taken a toll on them and I started pruning them back, They are dwarf trees so I think they are only supposed to be 10-12 feet tall? I shortened the horizontal branches a bit and cut the vertical shoots. I want them to produce a little more than they have been but am really more concerned with long term health and limiting the snow damage, I sometimes get 4+ feet of wet snow. Can I cut them back in the fall or should I only trim in the early spring? I think they were planted about 15 years ago.
  2. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    There are some great books on it at Amazon. I lived in Western Colorado where there are hundreds of thousands of acres of fruit trees and one of the things I learned from driving by them everyday is that I never cut off enough.

    You are supposed to be able to throw a cat through the tree without hitting a branch.
  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Google and Youtube it.

    Google fruit tree pruning and you will find all you need with regard to resources about pruning your trees...just make sure that the references that you use are Northern Hemisphere ones, with regard to timing of pruning for different fruit varieties. Youtube offers splendid information of the show and tell kind with real time demonstration of pruning techniques and methods.

    To get you started with SM resources on pruning, check out the following link: refer to my post has a shortish youtube clip which you may find helpfull.

    CAt throwing through trees is not a recommended testing procedure...especially if you have a PETA advocate in the local community. : O
    jungatheart likes this.
  4. munchy

    munchy Monkey+++

    Thanks, my dog would think the cat tossing the greatest idea ever!
    jungatheart and Quigley_Sharps like this.
  5. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Never send a cat to do a dog's say the cats

    Dogs should probably be careful what they might suggest to their owners...particularly if they too are conveniently around about the size of a cat....catapaulting some dogs would serve much the same purpose as some cats....catapaulting great danes and lions would be more challanging but doable and probably fun to watch a distance! ; )
  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Most trees need to be opened up at the top for maximam sunlight to the center of the tree. This leaves you with a tree that is flat on top and this should be done early spring before the leaves come out. At the same time prune all dead wood. The result will be a tree which can support more good fruit and will prevent some types of fungi since the sun kills such.

    Knowing the weight of the fruit and the size of your horizontal limbs and how to trim is a matter of experience for you area.

    Next, after late storms and the fruit has set, you will want to "uncrowd" the sets. By this I mean that you should remove , on average, 1/3 of the sets and as a way to reduce fruit infestation and damaged fruit, you need to reduce sets that are touching one another. Pressure damage from fruits growing into one another will cause the skins to break, leak fruit juice and brings in all type of varmints, flora and fauna to eat what you have grown.

    Better to have a bushel of storeable fruit than to have 3 bushels that will rot in 6 weeks from your storage date.
    Cruisin Sloth and chelloveck like this.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    More pruning advice

    At the same time prune all dead wood

    Read more:

    Also prune branches that are rubbing against each can be a route by which pathogens can infect the tree. Pruning weak branches that are likely to fail and crowded scaffolding branches will help the tree to be structurally stronger.

    Don't leave prunings at the base of the tree to decompose.....remove them to another place for disposal. (it helps remove a haven for pests to over winter with, so that they can survive to attack your fruit in the following growing season). Diseased prunings should be burnt and not composted.

    Also, make sure that pruning tools....secateurs, loppers and saws are disinfected with a solution of chlorinated water especially when removing infected, diseased branches. Disinfect tools prior to starting pruning, ad lib between trees and at the end of the day, before storing tools. Good tool hygiene practice will minimise cross infection between trees. The teeth between saws may need to be brushed with a wire brush (which also needs to be periodicallly disinfected) to remove all vegatitive matter before re-use and to allow disinfectant to penetrate to the metal.

    Before starting pruning...make sure that pruning tools are sharpened and kept sharp throughout the course of the job....dong so will ensure that cuts will be clean with less chance of bruising and lacerating wood, thereby exposing the wood to greater risk of infection.
  8. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    I was taught by the local master gardener to prune all branches that cross to open up fruit production.
  9. scrapman21009

    scrapman21009 Chupacabra Hunter

    I found out the hard way about this. I cut the lawns for a few older folks in the neighborhood who just can't do it themselves, well one of them always gets a bad case of Red Thread and after the first time it spread to my lawn I pressure wash my mower deck every time I cut his lawn before cutting anyone else.
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Pruning crossing branches also reduces the risk of disease. Crossing branches that rub against each other will often create a suitable environment for entry of diseases into the tree. Opening out the centre of the tree for sunlight air circulation will help reduce the risk of smuts and moulds.
  11. TXKajun

    TXKajun Monkey+++

    Great topic. I have a nice 4 yr old peach tree, a 2 year old plum tree and a 1 year old apricot tree that'll need attention early this spring.

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