Ever since I was about two years old, I have been fascinated with planting things and watching them grow.
But after living in the same house now for over 20 years, I have realized that some things grow too much or mercilessly invade another plant’s territory and need to be pruned or removed.
I used to think the word “pruning” related only to overgrown shrubs—you know, just keeping them the right size.
But if you’re growing fruiting trees and shrubs, learning to prune correctly actually helps them produce more fruit.
The first time I grew fruit trees, I did not understand how important pruning was.
My philosophical approach was to let Mother Nature take her course. The results? Not so great.
I let my apple and apricot trees basically run wild and in a few years, they were overgrown chaos.
This is not healthy for your fruit trees and your fruit production suffers as a result.
OG 365 Timeless Gardening Tip # 17: Learn how to prune your fruiting trees, shrubs, and vines properly so they will produce more fruit.
As always, you need to do some research about how to care for each variety.
(I’ll share some fruit tree trimming tips in just a minute.)
I don’t have room in this blog post to go into all the details about pruning. But there are lots of great books and websites that can give you all the info you need. Your local library probably has several books on pruning.
Have you noticed I’m always sending you to the library or bookstore? Hey, it’s important to be informed.
Not all experts agree on every detail about pruning or any other gardening practice. It’s important to read widely and get an overview of whatever topic you’re researching.
I suggest buying a pruning guide with good illustrations and instructions for all kinds of fruits and ornamentals. I still refer to mine often, especially when I am trying something new in the garden.
Here a 9 reasons why you must prune your fruit bearing plants:
- Done correctly, it encourages fruit production and bigger harvests. Who doesn’t want that?
- It keeps your trees and bushes to a manageable size.
- Fruit trees and bushes (think juicy, red raspberries, or sun-ripened peaches–yummmm) left un-pruned for several seasons become cluttered with too many branches, shoots, and dead wood. This prevents enough sunlight and air reaching the heart of the tree or shrub, which in turn decreases the health of your plants. The quantity and quality of your suffers as a result.
- Over-grown and un-pruned trees encourage more pests and diseases.
- Pruning correctly in the first three years after planting helps establish the right shape and framework for the sturdy fruit-bearing branches. This enables the tree to support more fruit.
- Regular pruning of well-established fruit trees helps bridle and redirect a tree’s energy into fruit production instead of just growing more branches.
- Prune specifically to remove damaged and/or disease and pest infested growth.
- Getting rid of older, spent growth on caning fruits like raspberries, for example, makes way for new canes.
- Let’s say you moved to a new house and inherited an overgrown apple tree that no longer produces much of anything. With proper pruning, you can bring it back into production.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of regular pruning. It is good for the tree and in the long run you will get more and better quality fruit.
NOTE: Always use the right tools for the job. Make sure they are sharp so they won’t damage the branches. You want a nice, clean cut and not a hack job (and store your tools properly).
Once you get the hang of it all, it’s time to try something fun like an espaliered apple or pear tree.
I hope you’ve found these fruit tree pruning tips helpful. As always, I’d love to hear any experiences or questions you have about pruning.
Until next time,
Here’s to your well-used pruning shears,James Early Organic Gardening 365 Dedicated to helping you get the most out of your organic garden all year long P. S. For the complete series of OG 365 Timeless Gardening Tips, click here.
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