Friday, September 2, 2011

Pruning fruit trees

Why prune
Pruning is not necessary in order to produce fruit. However, pruning fruit trees is needed to help ensure trees don’t grow too tall so the fruit becomes too high to reach. Pruning is also needed to remove unproductive wood.

fruit trees are pruned in two stages. First, to train the young tree and secondly to encourage the renewal of fruiting wood. Different fruit trees require different attention when pruning. Understanding the growth and fruiting habit and time of bearing of your trees will help you grasp how to prune fruit trees. However, as a general overview we've offered some advice when it comes to pruning fruit trees: .

Apples
The aim of pruning here is to clear clutter to create an open framework. Competing branches, especially any crossing or low branches must be removed as these cause the tree not to fruit properly.

The shoot on the end of each tip, known as a terminal won't ever fruit. This can be reduced to just five or six buds. The branch that comes off the side of the shoot at an angle is called a lateral. Leave these as they are as they will develop fruiting spurs for next season. Remove any old fruit left hanging on the tree and prune a quarter of an inch past a bud and at an angle.

Pears
For pears, reduce the terminal and leave these to produce fruit.

Plums
Train the tree into a vase shape by opening up the tree and let light penetrate the centre. Look for around 6 strong branches to provide that framework and then reduce any tall, whippy growth.

Lemon
Citrus trees can suffer from disease. Pruning your lemon trees and removing dead wood will help encourage new growth. to remove low hanging branches firstly make a small cut underneath the branch and then cut through from the top to stop the bark tearing.

Disposal
Remember to properly dispose of the pruning and remove any old, rotton fruit which could harbour disease.

Pruning fruit trees is essentially a way to keep the crops manageable and produce reliable quality crops. Pruning fruit trees is best done in winter and although we’ve just entered spring it’s something useful to keep in mind. The time and effort spent here will allow you to reap the rewards later on.

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