Pruning the right way every time
Pruning fruit trees is a must for anyone who loves to grow fruit in their backyard. However, not everyone is comfortable with how to prune trees, fruit frees, or otherwise.
If you have never been involved in pruning trees before, or have been pruning all your life but never read about best practice, this short post can help.
Pruning Fruit Trees to Support a Bountiful Harvest
Fruit trees can be a great addition to any garden. Eating food that has been produced from your own home can be a very satisfying experience.
By giving good tree care and maintenance and pruning your trees effectively, you can have the best of both worlds with attractively looking trees that produce tasty fruit which is easy to harvest.
If you are keen to learn the ‘how to’ of pruning trees – these four tips will help you to ensure you are being effective and looking after the health of your trees.
When is the best time to start pruning?
Knowing when to prune fruit trees can allow you to work with your tree’s natural defenses, helping them to defend themselves against any attacks from pests and diseases.
It is best to avoid pruning fruit trees when the tree is producing leaves, flowers, or fruit as this requires a lot of energy from the tree. It is also good to avoid times when fungi are most active such as autumn.
Factors to consider when pruning Fruit Trees
Depending on the fruit you are growing it may be necessary to prune every year or to leave longer gaps in between pruning cycles.
Some species produce their fruit on new growth whereas others produce fruit on growth that is older. Accurate identification of your tree will enable an experienced arborist to provide the right tree maintenance required.
Consider why you are pruning your Fruit Trees
To determine how you prune it can be a good idea to know why you are pruning.
One of the main reasons might be so that you can reach the fruit. Your fruit tree might be producing the most wonderful fruit you can imagine but it is not much use if it all falls to the floor and gets bruised. By maintaining your tree at a manageable size, you will be able to pick the fruit before this happens.
Another reason for pruning fruit trees can be to clear out any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. This will help to keep your tree healthy and prevent the spread of disease. Another way that this can be achieved is by ensuring sunlight and wind can easily enter the canopy of the tree. This allows the leaves to dry quickly after rain making it more difficult for fungi and other pathogens to grow.
High quality equipment is crucial when pruning fruit trees
Having good quality, sharp tools will help minimise the damage to your trees when pruning. Accurate placement of cuts is also important in achieving the best results. When pruning it is good to follow the rule of as much as necessary but as little as possible.
If you have more than one fruit tree in your garden it is also a good idea to clean your tools between pruning each tree. This will help to reduce the chance of spreading any diseases from one tree to the next.
If you have fruit trees that have become overgrown or you are thinking of establishing a new one, an arborist can advise on the best course of action to take. A professional arborist will be able to bring an unruly orchard back in line or plan the best way to go about creating a new food forest in your garden.
You might enjoy this article on Stuff about citrus trees – its relevant as they are all starting to bud about this time! https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-property/73395166/oranges-and-lemons—how-to-make-your-citrus-spectacular
Tree Care Auckland also has a range of blogs and ‘how-to’ information on pruning fruit trees. This might be of interest: https://www.treecareauckland.co.nz/how-to-guides/when-to-prune-fruit-trees/
Contact our helpful team of professional arborists to discuss whether we can help pruning your trees (citrus or otherwise) to support them and enable them to flourish and thrive this summer!