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9 Basics of How and When to Prune Fruit Trees

As a tree service provider for Eugene and Springfield, We always tell our clients that regular pruning is an important part of keeping your tree’s healthy, especially fruit trees! Without pruning your fruit trees can suffer through health problems, lower productivity, and susceptibility to disease and pests. Here are our 9 basics tips of when and how to prune fruit trees!

  1. Prune fruit trees when the leaves are off (dormant).
  2. Right after planting a new tree, cut it off to a short stick 24 to 30 inches high and cut any side shoots remaining below that to 1-2 This encourages low branching and equalizes the top and root system. Paint the tree with white latex paint to protect it from sunburn and borer attack.
  3. Topping a vertical branch encourages vegetative growth necessary for development of the tree and creates a bushing Topping horizontal branches is done to renew fruiting wood and to thin off excessive fruit. Thinning vertical branches opens the tree to more light. Thinning horizontal branches removes fruit. Horizontal branches left uncut will bear earlier and heavier crops.
  4. Upright branches generally remain vegetative and Horizontal branches generally are more fruitful. A good combination of the two is necessary for fruiting now and in future years. Branches bent to 45o to 60angles achieves this balance.
  5. Remove diseased or broken Remove suckers, water sprouts and most competing branches growing straight up into the tree. Downward bending branches (beyond 90o)eventually lose vigor and produce only a few small fruit; cut off the part hanging down.
  6. New growth occurs right where you make the cut; that is, the influence of the cut only affects the buds within 1 to 8 inches of the cut surface, not 3 to 4 feet down into the The more buds cut off the more vigorous the new shoots will be.
  7. Sun exposed wood remains fruitful and produces the largest Shaded branches eventually stop fruiting and will never produce again without drastic topping and renewal of the entire tree. Do most of the pruning in the top of the tree so that the lower branches are exposed to sunlight.
  8. Make clean cuts (within ¼”) of a bud; don’t leave stubs.
  9. Peach, nectarine, grape, & kiwi bear on last year’s shoot growth and they grow a lot, so remove at least 50% of last years’ For fig, olive, walnut, chestnut, pecan, almond, cherry, feijoa, persimmon, apple, pear, plum, plumcot, and apricot which bear on spurs or less vigorous shoots, remove about 20% of last years’ growth. For citrus, just keep the skirts pruned up off the ground.

If you need help with pruning your trees, call Simonson Tree Service to set up an appointment, however, if you’re up for pruning your fruit trees yourself, give it a shot, and follow these 9 basics!

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