Have you ever wondered why your fruit tree used to provide a hearty, quality crop and now it doesn’t? Well there’s a reason for the saying “ the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. A healthy tree will produce a healthy crop, while a neglected tree will, well you get the idea. Fruit tree pruning can increase not only the quantity but also the quality of fruit from your trees. There are two main types of fruit tree pruning, production and restoration.
Production pruning involves selectively heading back the new shoots and is done on an annual basis with regularly maintained trees. The heading back focuses the tree’s energy on reproduction (formation of fruit which holds the seeds). By cutting back the new shoots, the tree redirects it’s energy into reproduction over growth.
Restoration pruning is done when a fruit tree has been left untended for an extended period of time and is overgrown and often not producing or producing undesirable fruit. Restoration is a multi-year process to restore the structure of the tree and re-invigorate production.
Thinning is done with both types of pruning. This allows air and light filtration through the canopy, reducing the potential for fungal growth and increasing light penetration to all parts of the tree.
Fruit tree pruning is best done during the dormant season (after leaf drop and before the buds swell and re-open in the spring). With proper pruning you can enjoy healthy and productive fruit trees for many years. Also remember that experience is everything! Seek a seasoned professional!
Conan O’Dell, Garden City Tree and Landscape