To have the best fruit from year to year it’s necessary to prune fruit trees every year. Let’s take a look at the reasons why they need pruning.
1. To reduce the number of fruits – This may seem counter-productive to fruit tree growers. Below are the benefits of reducing the quantityof fruits.
a. To strengthen the tree – This is critical for young trees. Fruit trees need to create thicker trunks and main branches to prevent breaking from the weight of the fruit. If there is too much fruit, the trees will put all of their energy into the fruit instead of building wood. This is why fruit trees are prone to break branches.
b. For higher quality fruit – When you take off the skin and remove the core or pit of a fruit, what is left is the fruit. Larger fruits will contain more fruit and it will be juicier and sweeter. For those that like to bottle, it means less work removing cores, pits, and peeling.
c. To allow the tree to fruit every year – Apples can go into ‘alternate-bearing’ which means they produce fruit every other year. If there are too many apples on the tree, the tree doesn’t save enough energy to produce the fruiting buds for next year, resulting in ‘alternate-bearing’. Stone fruit trees (Peaches, Plums, Apricots, etc.) produce next year’s fruit on this year’s new wood. By pruning stone fruits heavily, this creates new wood for next year’s fruit.
2. To keep the size of the tree – Who wants to take the risk of being atop a tall ladder trying to reach fruit? It is so much easier to keep a tree at 8’ tall every year than trying to lower a 25’ tree by 50%. A skilled pruner can keep a tree at the same height.
3. To allow for easier spraying – If you choose to spray your fruit to keep damaging insects away, it’s easier to reach and cover the fruit with sprays when the tree has been thinned out.
Pruning is best done before the trees bloom. Winter or early spring, before the trees bloom, is the best time to prune a fruit tree. Take a fruit tree pruning class or hire a skilled professional to be sure you get the most out of your fruit trees.