How to prune fruit trees for a healthier tree and better harvest

How To Prune Fruit Trees To Keep Your Orchard Healthy

It’s time to prune fruit trees again here at Rosevine Cottage, it’s a lot of work, but it, in the end, it’s absolutely worth all the work and effort it takes.

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Why Prune Fruit Trees

Pruning your fruit trees is super important when it comes to orchard care, it helps to promote a healthy tree by removing dead or damaged limbs and allowing air and sunlight to reach the inside of the tree which will head off fungus issues.

When To Prune Fruit Trees

Pruning fruit trees should be done while your tree is dormant, ideally late winter or very early spring before they begin to bud. You should plan on pruning your fruit trees every dormant season, this will help your trees be ready for the coming year. We prune our trees between February 1st-April 1st.

How To Prune Fruit Trees:

We’ve spent years research how to prune our tree for the best results and overall health of the tree, there is a lot of information out there, and it can be a bit confusing so we’re going to break down that information as best we can.

When you are going to prune fruit trees, you’ll need:

  • A good pair of sharp loppers – these are absolutely necessary to prune fruit trees.
  • Gloves – after a while your hands are going to get sore, these will help to keep the blisters at bay.
  • Something to haul away the branches. We like to dry ours and then use them in our grill while cooking meat You could also chip them and use them as mulch or in a smoker, or burn them and use the ash in your garden or orchard.


How To Prune Apple Trees

When you are planning to prune fruit trees take a moment to identify problem spots on your tree. Start by pruning out and visibly damaged, weak, crossing or diseased limbs. Next prune water sprouts (shoots growing straight up), and anything growing back toward the main trunk.

Trim branches from the top of your tree that will prevent light from entering the canopy. Make sure you are pruning the limbs of your fruit tree flush against the trunk so that there are no stumps. Cut limbs that directly cross others, and anything point at the ground. Remove limbs that are competing for space in a narrow area.

The final step to successfully prune fruit trees is to basically give your tree a haircut, this will prevent the trees from getting too tall and making it impossible to harvest. This will also help to keep your branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit later on. Heading off the tree means you’ll cut 20-30% of last year’s growth. You can identify the new growth from the last year from the two-year-old wood by looking for the wrinkly ring encircling the stem. Depending on your tree you may trim a couple of inches or up to 4 feet of your trees.  Unlike the cleanup cuts, you’ve already made these cuts should be made partway up the branch. Where you make these cuts is really important, prune fruit tree branches back to 1/4 inch above the bud that points in the direction you want the limb to grow over the coming year. If there is already a limb growing near the direction the bud you pick is pointing, select one on the other side.

Spring Orchard Care

Trying to prune fruit trees may feel a bit overwhelming but it’s absolutely necessary for a healthy harvest. Using these tips, you’ll be able to get your spring orchard care nocked out and you well on your way to a great harvest.


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