When Should You Prune Fruit Trees?

When Should You Prune Fruit Trees?

There’s nothing more satisfying than plucking a fresh apple, plum, pear, orange – or any other fruit – off of a tree in your own yard that you’ve grown and tended to yourself. For some reason, the fruit tastes so much sweeter when you’ve grown it yourself. In other words, growing fruit trees yourself is extremely rewarding. If you want to make the most out of your fruit trees, however, you do need to tend to them. Knowing how and when to prune fruit trees is one of the most important parts of fruit tree maintenance.

When Should You Prune Fruit Trees?

Why should fruit trees be pruned? When should a fruit tree be pruned, and how often does it need to be done? To find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading!

Do Fruit Trees Need to Be Pruned?

Yes, fruit trees of all varieties do need to be pruned, and they should be pruned annually. Proper pruning involved removing branches that are broken or dead, or that are growing straight up or down. Additionally, any branches that are overcrowding the tree should be removed.

Why Should Fruit Trees Be Pruned?

A lot of people are under the assumption that they can just let their fruit trees grow wild; after all, that’s how they grow in nature. While yes, that might be true, if you want to make the most out of your fruit trees, you really prune them.

Removing dead, dying, and overcrowded branches, as well as branches that are growing straight up to the sky or straight down to the ground benefits a fruit tree in several ways.

Some of the most notable benefits of pruning fruit trees are as follows:

  • The tree will be healthier and more robust
  • Pruning maximizes fruit yields
  • Harvesting is made easier
  • Reduced risk of disease
  • Reduced risk of pest infestation
  • More uniform, visually pleasing appearance

Why Does Pruning Encourage Fruit Growth?

There are several reasons why pruning promotes the growth of fruit. Firstly, regular pruning awakens and activates dormant buds and encourages them to bloom and produce fruit the following growing season. Additionally, the tree will receive more sunlight when the branches aren’t overcrowded – also promoting fruit growth. Moreover, pruning promotes airflow throughout the tree – including its fruit – which encourages fruit growth, too.

Do Fruit Trees Need to Be a Certain Age Before They’re Pruned?

The majority of fruit trees don’t need any serious pruning before they’re about three years old. That being said, however, any damaged or overcrowded branches should be trimmed back, even while the tree is still young. In other words, you don’t need to worry about heavily pruning your fruit trees until they’re around three years old, though you should remove any trouble branches before a tree reaches that age to ensure it will remain healthy and it will thrive.

How Frequently Do Fruit Trees Need to Be Pruned?

All varieties of fruit trees should be pruned once a year. The best time to prune fruit trees is during the latter part of the winter season, or early spring when the tree is still dormant and before it starts actively growing. You can also prune fruit trees in the middle to end of the summer after new growth has reached or surpassed at least five inches. In addition to pruning annually, any damaged, dead, or diseased branches should be removed, no matter the time of the year.

How Do You Prune Fruit Trees During the Winter?

Wait until late winter to prune your fruit trees – while they’re dormant. Pruning while the tree is dormant will reduce the impact on growth and fruit production for the upcoming growing season.

How Do You Prune Fruit Trees During the Summer?

If you plan on waiting until the summer to prune your fruit trees, try to wait until the middle or toward the end of the season, when any new growth has reached or surpassed five inches.

The best way to prune fruit trees during the summer is by just snipping off any new growth that isn’t essential for the tree. Of course, you should remove any dead or damaged branches at this time, as well.

Help Your Fruit Trees Flourish with Regular Pruning

If you want to maximize the production of your fruit trees and ensure they’re as aesthetically pleasing as possible, regular pruning is a must. No matter what type of fruit tree you have, the above-mentioned information will ensure they stay in tip-top condition and produce great yields for years to come.

Additional Information: Delay fruit pruning – trees, shrubs, and grapes (Nebraska Extension)

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