If you recently moved into a home with a large fruit tree in the backyard, then you need to know how to properly prune it while it is dormant each winter. Without yearly pruning and care, the fruit tree will grow uncontrollably. Uncontrollable growth leads to broken branches and decreased fruit production. The good news is that you can easily learn to prune the tree and keep it growing healthy for years to come.
To ensure that your fruit tree is properly pruned this winter, follow these tips:
Tip: Use the Right Cutting Technique
As you prune your fruit tree's branches, you need to be careful of the cutting technique that you use. For example, all of your cuts should be angled. Cutting a tree branch straight across can lead to future branch breakage. Also, you must always cut branches right above a bud that faces outward. Make sure that you make your cut just above the bud, and never cut right along the trunk. Removing branches from the trunk can make the tree sick. Instead, always cut branches at least a few inches away from the trunk.
Tip: Remove All Branches Not Growing in the Right Direction
When you prune the fruit tree, you should always cut the branches that are not growing in the right direction to make a well-shaped and healthy tree in the future. For example, you should remove each branch that:
crosses other branches
grows up vertically
grows horizontally to the ground
Additionally, you should remove any low-growing branches on the trunk and those that are damaged or show signs of disease.
Tip: Paint the Bottom of the Tree to Prevent Illness
After you have successfully pruned your fruit tree, then you should paint the lower foot of its trunk with white latex paint. The paint will help stave off wood-boring insect infestation and sunburn, while not harming the tree.
Tip: Consult with a Professional Arborist if Necessary
Finally, if your backyard's fruit tree is mature and has not been properly pruned in many years, then you should consult with an arborist about how to properly prune it back to keep the tree healthy and promote the growth of fruit. It is entirely possible that your tree needs major pruning, so you might need a multi-year plan to ensure that too much of the tree is not removed. Removing too much of a mature fruiting tree in a single year can cause it to become ill and die. Contact a tree trimming service like Vista Tree Service for additional information.