Fruit Tree Pruning Services
Fruit Tree Pruning
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
During the Winter months most all plant material is in a stage of dormancy. This is the time to prune your fruit trees as well as your Ornamental Crab Apples. The species Apple, Peach, Plum, Pear are all very susceptible to many different strains of fungus and bacteria. Fungus and bacteria are spread from spores that become air borne. They come from old leaves that were infected the previous year. In the Spring when the temperatures get warm along with ample moisture, the spores begin to fly. They need moisture in order to be activated. So every time there is rain, or a sprinkler head turns on activation can occur. Pruning cuts leave an opening for fungus and bacteria to enter the vascular system of the plant. This allows the disease to move through the plant. Pruning when the trees are dormant will help you avoid this scenario. Winter pruning allows time for callous growth or wound wood to form before fungal activity begins.
Young trees should be pruned for structure as opposed to fruit production. As fruit matures it gains weight that can bend or break branches. It is a wise move to pick the fruit off before they gain enough weight to cause permanent damage to plant structure on a young or newly planted tree. The main structure is key to years of good fruit production. Fruit production pruning leads the plant structure to be short and thin. This is done to aid in easy of picking fruit and getting even application on a spray program. The fruit will bend the branches downward. Apple trees will eventually look like a large mushroom. Peaches and pears will have a more pyramidal shape. However, short and thin remains a common pruning objective.
After desired structure has been formed yearly maintenance pruning should take place. This involves removal of sucker growth. Adventitious buds will sprout from previous pruning cuts. They may also emerge at the root collar. They are called basil suckers. In most cases all sucker growth will be straight upward and should be removed. In time you will have to shorten lateral branches. This is done so the weight of the fruit will not break the branch or to make mowing easier. A properly pruned tree will yield a good crop and give aesthetic value to your property.
Proper fruit tree pruning is an art. It takes time to learn there are no short cuts. The Internet, libraries, books, public extension services are all fine references. The best way to learn to prune fruit trees is to work directly with someone that has the knowledge and experience. Many Arboricultural firms will work with you to explain pruning technique.
There are many people that have small orchards as a hobby. Working with plants on your own property can be gratifying and rewarding. It will also help to relieve stress. Most of all it will help you get outside and enjoy nature during a time when most are in the confines of their home.