It is time to prune any fruit trees you have.Â ItÂ should be started when they are young to improve tree structure for the rest of its life. Pruning can be done on a tree of any age if you are determined.Â It is best done in late winter through early spring, before leaves appear.
Pruning will insure that they grow into a tree that is easy to pick from for years to come, improves fruit quality, resists disease, and will not break under its load when bearing heavily.
If youâ€™ve never done it before, pruning fruit trees can be intimidating since it requires making some bold cuts. However, itâ€™s such an important part of growing fruit that it is definitely worth learning a few basic techniques.Â Pruning a tree is actually fairly easy to do and does not take much time.Â Even a newbies like us are able to prune a young tree in less than 15 minutes once they get the hang of it.
Pears and apples are known asÂ pome fruit. Cherries, apricots, and peaches are known asÂ stone fruit. They are pruned differently, and you must know the difference in how to do this before you start. It is easier than I thought it would be, but a bit of time is needed to learn.
Some basic, but important, rules:
- Donâ€™t pruneÂ cherryÂ trees until after they bear in the summer.
- You want somewhat of an â€˜open centerâ€™ in the tree for good sunlight penetration and air circulation throughout.
- You want strong branches which come out of the trunk at 45 degrees.Â GreaterÂ or lesser angle makes for a poor weight-bearing branch later in the life of the tree.
- You want to encourage outward growth of coming limbs. Where you cut determines which way the new branch will head. This is called a heading cut.
The Peaceful Valley/Grow OrganicÂ site has a wonderfully informative video series on pruning peach trees as well as grapes, hardy kiwi, raspberries and blackberries, asÂ wellÂ as, planting trees, and lots of other gardening practices. Theyâ€™re definitely worth a look. The peach pruning video is available here:
When we were selectively â€˜trimming backâ€™ our little orchard(only 9 trees at this point), we soon understood the real reason we prune. It is to encourage correct growth and a excellent outcome. As we worked, our minds were making all kinds of associations to the pruning God does in our lives. It makes so much sense when YOU are THE PRUNER (aka the vine-dresser, the husbandman, the gardener)! Every cut has a desired future goal.
One of the reasons I am so sad that our culture is further and further away from a sustainable and simpler lifestyle is because we are losing our understanding of these foundation principles in life!
How wonderful to teach these concepts to our children and their children as we teach and work side by side in the orchard/garden. Purposeful teaching is necessary for leaving a rich legacy for our families.
â€œI am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. â€ ~John 15: 1-2