Pruning fruit trees has its differences from pruning conventional garden trees. This is due to the fact that the objective of pruning these trees is to obtain good quality fruits, so it is necessary to prevent small and poor quality fruits from coming out, taking into account that if the pruning is excessive, we can harm to the production of the tree. Therefore, we must find the exact balance between growth and production.
In this article, we will talk about how and when to prune fruit trees .
How to prune fruit trees
It is convenient to prune and guide fruit trees from when they are young, since doing it when they are older requires more effort, time and tools, in addition to that it is easier to get young specimens to adapt to new situations. We must try to achieve a more open shape of the branches, making them develop further across the width of the tree, and eliminate vertical branches and suckers, since they are the ones that take away the vigor of the tree and make the fruits grow worse. It is also possible to guide these vertical branches to a more horizontal position, reducing their growth speed and promoting the formation of flower buds and fruits .
When we have already given a suitable structure to the young fruit tree, pruning can begin. Pruning is done every year and unproductive wood must be removed, keeping it at a suitable size, so that we increase the amount of light that the rest of the branches receive. With the annual pruning, we keep the wood productive and fruitful and we get the tree to develop healthy and vigorous. Once the tree begins to bear fruit, its growth will be slower and so will the need for pruning. When pruning, the tree itself adapts to change and its response depends on where it is cut. To know how to prune a fruit tree, you have to take into account the type of pruning that is carried out, since the amount that is thinned and by which point of the branches to cut will depend on it.
- Clearing: the thinning of the tree eliminates some branches and makes the other branches obtain a remnant of energy and grow more vigorously.
- Headings: headings consist of leaving more buds on the branches and that these generate a more compact, branched and dense growth.
Normally it is cut above the buds , as we will see below, depending on what type of bud is cut, one effect or another is achieved on the growth of the fruit tree and its production.
The parts of a fruit tree
Understanding the parts of a fruit tree helps to perform proper pruning . You have to find a balance between fruit and leaves to achieve a good pruning. Approximately, about forty leaves are enough for quality fruits to develop, so we must take into account the number of flower buds when achieving this balance. In addition, knowing these parts and what they are for will help you better know how to care for fruit trees . These are the different parts of these types of trees:
- Terminal bud : the terminal bud is the final fattest bud on the branch. This bud grows faster and forms vigorously. By cutting it, the buds that are behind are activated.
- Foliage buds : foliage buds are triangular buds and plans that are located on the side of the branches. If we cut just above, these buds will be activated and the branches will produce leaves.
- Flower buds : they are fat buds that swell in early spring. These buds will form the flowers.
- Darts: they are small branches with flower buds that develop on the oldest branches. These branches must be conserved, since they guarantee an annual fruiting.
- Seasonal scar: it is the ring that forms on the branch and signals the beginning of a growth period after a period of rest.
When to prune fruit trees
After the period of rest or dormancy, at the end of winter and just before the spring bud period, it is the right time to prune. In addition, if we do it at this time, the wounds that have been produced by pruning will heal better and faster. We can even delay pruning for up to a week after the tree blooms, with minimal damage to the plant.
Also, we will be able to carry out a small pruning during the summer and autumn and we will pinch the more vigorous shoots, to favor the appearance of more vigorous lateral branches and that have flower buds.
To reduce the vigor of certain fruit trees, when they develop too much, we can power it during the beginning or middle of August. If we want the fruits to be of higher quality, we will eliminate the leaves that shade the fruit. What we must consider is that pruning in late autumn or early winter is the worst, since in this case we will leave wounds on the tree exposed until late winter, which can cause fungal attacks and more damage due to the frosts of these times.