How to prune fruit trees

How to prune fruit trees

Basically, there are two types of pruning, one for breeding and the other for fruiting. In the first years of the tree’s age, if a cultivation of trees for fruiting has been planted, it is necessary to try to shape the tree to make it easier to harvest the fruits. Pruning will begin gradually and initially only in summer. Only after 2/3 years from planting it will be possible to proceed with the winter pruning that will give shape to the tree. In row cultivation it will be necessary to adopt the so-called flag technique, in which the fruiting branches run in two directions to the right and left of the stem. This type of pruning is intended for large agricultural crops, and differs from the bush one suitable for single plants or small orchards with scattered and non-aligned plants.

The various techniques

Technically, bush pruning is performed starting from the first year in a vegetative regime. Before this period it is not advisable to act on the plant in winter because problems of suffering due to grafting and cold temperatures could arise. In fact, the planting of fruit plants must be carefully evaluated considering the climatic conditions and the exposure of the soil to avoid spring frosts that ruin the inflorescences. In the first years it is done only and exclusively in summer, with the removal of leafy branches of 30-40 cm, to give shape to the crown. Starting from the third one, pruning can be started, strictly in winter and by cutting proportionately, avoiding the disordered growth of the tree. Summer pruning stimulates the formation of fruit buds, which must be contained,

Pruning of other fruit trees

As for the apple tree it is appropriate to distinguish, in the following years, the fruit buds and those from the branch that can be identified on the branches and which are distinguished by appearance in shape. Pruning for the first three years is very similar for almost all fruit plants, special attention can be paid to persimmon which if left to its productive activity can also give many fruits but small and if too pruned, overdoing in vegetation without producing fruit. However, bearing many fruits, it is good to limit fruiting, especially on the weakest branches. The cherry tree, unlike the apple tree, can be pruned in winter even during the first years after planting. These interventions are necessary to limit the «zig zag» growth characteristic of this plant. Cherry tree pruning can be limited where the tree has plenty of space and can be left free to vegetate. For this reason, when planting a cherry orchard, larger quarters are chosen, in comparison with other trees.

How to prune fruit trees: Pruning tools

As for the pruning equipment, scissors are indispensable, with a more or less long handle, equipped with a stop for closing, sharpened in order to avoid lacerations by making clean cuts. Also indispensable, when high pruning is carried out between the branches, the scissor can be mounted on an extension and operated with a rope. For cutting large branches, small chainsaws with reduced weight, which can be operated with one hand, or a specific tool known as a pruner, with a long handle, also telescopic and a small chain saw at the end, are on the market. As for the remains of pruning, if you do not have a sufficiently large composter you can equip yourself with a small shredder. The biomass reduced in wood chips can be sent for home composting or used as mulch in the vegetable garden.

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