When to prune fruit trees

When to prune fruit trees

When the summer is over, many consider that the arrival of cold is the best season to prune fruit trees. Others, however, wait until late winter and early spring to do so. But, When to prune fruit trees? Is it better before, after?

You should know that, depending on the type of fruit tree, its pruning season will be different. That is why it is so important to know what tree it is and when it is best to prune it. We will talk about all of this below.

What is considered pruning

What is considered pruning

The action of pruning, or what we call pruning, is actually the cut we make to certain parts of the tree with a clear objective. And it is that when it comes to pruning we can do it for different purposes:

  • To give it a certain shape, for example because we like it to be a tree with a rounded aesthetic.
  • Because we want to clean it up by cleaning dead branches or branches that are useless because they do not have leaves or fruits.
  • To prevent it from getting out of control in its growth.
  • To improve the quality of the fruits. This, in the case of fruit trees, is very important because it will help the tree to gain more strength for the development of bigger and tastier fruits.

You should see pruning as a way to allow the tree to air out (because the branches allow the air to pass between them) at the same time that it can have an entrance of light. In this way, all the branches will be exposed and it will not end up dead on one side and alive on the other.

In general, pruning should remove all branches that are useless, such as:

  • The pacifiers.
  • The hanging branches.
  • The broken branches.
  • Those branches that intersect as they prevent the proper development of the plant (and the only thing they will do is entangle the tree).

Although the pruning season begins when the last leaves of the trees fall, and until the end of winter, depending on the type of tree, one season or another should be chosen.

When to prune fruit trees

When to prune fruit trees

In the case of the trees that concern us, the fruit trees, the best time to do it is always after that period of rest that the trees pass, that is, after winter. Specifically, in the months of February and early March, pruning has to be carried out since this is the moment when the sap rises and begins to swell the buds, producing new shoots.

Now, there is an autumn pruning that could be interesting for fruit trees. However, this focuses only on pinching the vigorous shoots, since the objective is to get more side branches, but these with flower buds, which will make their production greater the following year. What do you want to achieve the opposite? Then you have to prune it in August.

As It is not recommended in any way is that it be pruned in late autumn and early winter. And it is that, when you cut the branches, what you do is a wound to the plant, and this, unless you treat it, is exposed throughout the winter, it will not heal until this passes, which will imply that it may suffer from fungi , pests and diseases that end the life of the tree.

Are all the fruit trees pruned in the same month?

The truth is that no. Each fruit tree has a flowering time and another to bear fruit. There are some that are early and in May-June they already have the fruits; while others until September or October do not give them. For this reason, it is important to know which fruit it is and which species to determine which are its best times to prune fruit trees.

For information, you should know that:

  • Pear tree: it is pruned in July.
  • Apple tree: it is pruned in December or January.
  • Plum, cherry, almond, apricot: in February (the case of the almond tree will depend, since there are some early trees that, in December, are already in flower; if so, they will be pruned in November).
  • Lemon and orange trees: in March-April.

How to prune fruit trees

How to prune fruit trees

The time has come and you have to prune fruit trees. To do this, you need to have a series of tools that will shorten the time it takes to do it and also avoid stress on the trees. You cannot cut a tree with scissors only, you need more tools such as:

  • A hand scissors. They are the usual ones to cut branches up to 2cm in diameter. Those that are bigger will not be able to with them.
  • Two-handed scissors. These, although they are larger, since they have longer handles, are only intended for branches up to 3 cm in diameter.
  • Pruning saws. For the branches with greater diameter, thick, or even trunks. Another of these tools is the splitting bow.
  • Chainsaw. For very thick branches.

It is important that you disinfect the tools that you are going to use before and after each one, so that diseases are not transmitted between the trees. And, in addition, in the cuts that are made of branches of more than 5cm in diameter, it is advisable to seal the wounds with fungicides or healing products because they will take longer to close and can be a source of infection.

How to cut the branches

You've probably heard many times that cuts have to be sloped. But how much? How close to the twigs does it have? What happens if you cut them too far?

El ideal cut is something that is somewhat inclined, but not too much, because if you do it like this, the only thing you will achieve is that the wood is aged and nothing grows. Also, you have to leave a minimum separation from the last little shoot, not too much, but enough. Think about how that shoot or leaf will grow and you will know how much space to leave.

What if you leave a lot? Well, in the end that part of the branch will dry up, and when the tree tries to recover it, it will lose strength.

Types of pruning

When pruning fruit trees, you must bear in mind that there are three pruning types:

  • Deformation. It is produced during the first four years of the fruit tree and serves to get the tree to acquire the shape you want it to have.
  • The cleaning. Whose objective is to eliminate suckers, broken, old or bad branches ...
  • Of production. It is what is done to help the trees bear more fruit.

Don't be afraid to be wrong. In most cases it is experience that will tell you if you do it well or not, and for this you have to start pruning fruit trees. If you are not sure how to do it, try cutting a little to see how the tree reacts. As you watch its evolution, you will become more aware of what you need to cut and what not.

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