Okay, I have held you off long enough, it is now time to prune your trees. We are seeing more and more sunny, warm days, which is crazy after snow just three weeks ago. But these warmer days and of course, the sunshine, makes our trees wake up and get ready to do something. Many people will start to be pruning fruit trees right now so that they can start developing the right buds for the right amount of fruit. Pruning fruit trees doesn’t have to be brain surgery but it should be planned out before you just start hacking away at the portray. Most trees of probably grown shoots off of the limbs and have branched out quite dramatically over the last year so you need to tame that back a bit and be more methodical as to where your cuts are going to be and to make sure you can reach all of the fruit. Here are the basic steps for pruning a tree.
#1. Clean up the old.
If there’s old dead, damaged, or diseased limbs, those need to be removed first. Any old fruit that might have brought it on the tree or old limbs that have dried in the cracks need to be removed so you can really see the entire tree.
#2. Trim away anything that is facing toward the tree.
You want limbs that are reaching out of the tree, not crossing each other into the tree. Any limb that is crossing another lamb and touching it needs to be removed at the main limb. You want to cut is close to the limb as possible without damaging the main branch. If you cut up an inch or two, that will initiate new growth and then you might have three branches to cut their next year.
#3. Remove suckers.
Suckers are new limbs that shoot straight up from a horizontal tree branch. These are literally sucking the life out of your tree. You want to cut everything off that shooting straight up from the main limb.
#4. Step back and take a look.
Just as if you were cutting someone’s hair or baking a cake, you need to step back and look at your work every now and then. Are there branches that you just can’t reach? Are limbs competing for space with each other? Did you miss that one sucker shooting straight up in the middle? Is the middle send out enough so that you can get under it and reach the fruit?
Continue thinning the tree until there are about 6 to 12 inches of airspace around every branch. The smaller the branches are the closer they can be to each other. You’ll want to prune back the outermost growth of the tree so the branches become shorter and thicker, rather than long and weak.
Of course, you can always give us a call and we can take care of this for you. It is something that should be done to keep your trees in good health, get the right fruit from the tree, or just to make sure they don’t overtake the front steps, the back deck etc.