3 Tips for Pruning Fruit Trees

Did you know that when and how you prune your fruit trees can improve the quality and quantity of your crop? If you know when to prune fruit trees, you can create an open scaffold that’s strong enough to bear all the beautiful, ripe fruit without breaking.
If you have fruit trees on your property, knowing when and how to prune them is crucial to keeping them healthy and producing for many years to come. Keep scrolling to read the top 3 tips for pruning fruit trees.

When Should I Prune My Fruit Tree?

Once your fruit tree has been trained, it won’t need annual pruning. Pruning your fruit tree when it’s young is important to encourage young fruit trees to produce thick stems and open canopies to promote flowering; this also helps reduce bacterial and fungal diseases. Pruning your fruit tree is best when you initially plant it, and in the following early years, in the beginning of spring before buds break and your trees are still dormant. Be sure to cut any new stems off at 24 to 30 inches from the ground and remove any side shoots. This will encourage the new tree to grow low branches and the root system to keep the plant from getting top-heavy while it is establishing. Don’t expect too much fruit in the first 2 or 3 years as your fruit tree develops low branches for better fruiting.

Fruit Tree Pruning After the First Year

The main goal for the first three years of your fruit tree’s life is to increase scaffold strength, promote fruiting branches and minimize crossing and rubbing. After any new growth has reached 3 – 4 inches, select the central leader branch and remove all other branches 4 inches below it. This will allow the maximum light and air to enter the branches, as well as create robust branches that can handle a heavy load of fruit.

Pruning Your Fruit Tree 3 Years and Beyond

As stated above, the first three years of your young fruit tree’s life should be devoted to managing the scaffolding branches, removing any crossing branches, secondary stems, and downward growth. Once this has been established, pruning is almost unnecessary except to reduce downward weak branches, waterspouts, and removing dead wood.
If your fruit tree has been neglected for quite a while, then your tree may require drastic rejuvenation pruning. This will reinvigorate the scaffolding of your fruit tree, but minimize the amount of crop your tree produces for several years. We would recommend contacting a professional if you’ve got mature fruit trees that have been left to fend for themselves for too long. If an amateur tries to prune their fruit tree they could inadvertently cause breakage and splitting. Additionally, fruit trees with crowded branches will have poor fruit production. An experienced arborist will be able to diagnose your tree’s condition and get it back to its former fruiting glory.

The capable landscape specialists at Cutters Edge are here to help you with any of your fruit tree care needs. Contact us today to discuss your tree care needs and goals.