5 Things You Need to Know Before Pruning a Fruit Tree

Pruning a fruit tree not only keeps it looking neat, but it can also make that tree much more productive. Of course, get things wrong and that pruning session could spell disaster for your fruit trees, so here are five things you need to know before getting started.


Get Your Timing Right

 Some fruit trees, such as apple, pear, and olive trees, are best pruned at the end of the winter. This then encourages growth in the upcoming season.

 However, some fruit trees, particularly stone fruit trees, should be pruned in the spring and summer. This helps to prevent fungal diseases from forming.


Some Trees Don’t Need Much Pruning

 Don’t prune a tree just for the sake of it – make sure that it actually needs pruning. While the process of pruning boosts productivity for some trees, it can actually inhibit growth and fruiting in others.

Mango trees are a good example of a garden tree that doesn’t require much pruning. Flowers and fruits form on mature wood, meaning that those older branches are best left alone. Pruning a mango tree too much can also result in a spurt of leafy growth, with a lack of fruits for the next few years.

Fortunately, a quick online search about your specific tree will tell you whether or not it needs to be pruned.


Pruning Tools Should Always Be Sharp and Clean

Whether you’re using handheld pruners on a young avocado tree or heavy duty loppers on a mature pomegranate tree, your pruning tools should always be sharp. Blunt tools will leave branches rough and jagged, and your tree will find it much harder to recover from this. An abrasive stone is usually all you need to sharpen your garden tools.

Cleanliness is another important point to keep in mind. Simply give your gardening tools a clean in some warm, soapy water, ideally in between each tree you prune. This will save you from transferring any diseases or pests from tree to tree.


Fruit Trees in Pots May Need to Be Root Pruned

Are you growing any fruit trees in pots? Many do extremely well when grown in containers, especially if you go for a large GRC pot. However, at some point, you will want to maintain a certain size instead of constantly repotting into a larger container.

If you want to prevent your tree from growing any larger, you will need to root prune it. This consists of removing about one third of your tree’s roots. This will stop it from getting root bound, which would affect its long term health.


Newly-Planted Trees Should Never Be Pruned

If you have planted a tree within the last year, then don’t be tempted to prune it. Even if it looks unruly, the only good reason to lop off any branches is if they are dead or already broken.

Being moved and replanted is stressful for a tree – it needs at least a year to recover from this. Subjecting it to being pruned will only add to its stress in a way that it likely won’t come back from.

Pruning can be so beneficial for garden trees, but they can also cause irreparable damage if you prune incorrectly, or even at the wrong time of year. Before taking your loppers to any of the trees in your garden, it always pays to do a little bit of research into each tree’s pruning needs, just to make sure that you get things right!


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