Pruning fruit trees

Fruit tree pruning

Fruit trees are pruned from the very first moment they are planted in the ground. The recommended period is spring, if the plant should be planted in another season, the pruning must still be carried out in the following spring. So pruning determines the direction we give to the tree according to how we cut the branches with the new shoots, but we must avoid damaging the tree or making incorrect cuts that can cause rainwater to stagnate and make it sick. We can perform two primary methods: Pruning called training serves to improve the aesthetics of the tree. It is carried out by identifying the new gems facing outwards and making a cut, angling the tool we use by about 30 °, immediately above the gems. In this way the branches will be directed upwards and outwards. Pruning called thinning is used to thin out the branches of the tree. It is important to prioritize the largest branches that need to take the most amount of sunlight. The cut should be made as close as possible to the attachment of the branch to the trunk.

Key factors for a pruning part 1

In this first part we will try to determine two of the four key factors to have in mind when pruning fruit trees. First we need to determine the angle we want to give to the branches in a fruit tree, which ones to leave and which not. This varies according to the type of farming we want to develop, which determines the balanced growth of the fruits. With respect to the trunk of the tree, the angle of a branch must increase to 45 °, 60 ° or 120 °. A different angle can disadvantage an imbalance of the plant and the tree may not be fruitful as we would like. The growth of the new branches always develops upwards, so this situation must be managed well. We can help by imagining an inverted triangle with the vertex down and the base towards the other. By superimposing this image on the tree, we can get the ideal figure to consider a pruning as perfect. Another determining factor is the diameter of a branch. It is a good idea to remember that the diameter of the main branches must be at least 30% larger than the secondary ones. This helps the passage of the sap and the growth of the tree.

Key factors for a pruning part 2

The sunlight is determined for the life of a fruit tree, therefore the opening of the external and internal branches must be created so that it can reach all the primary and secondary branches, so as to allow the formation of buds that will become the fruits of the future of the tree and increase the quality of the same at the time of harvest. Having too many fruit on the same branch means you just have more poor quality fruit to throw away. This type of technique favors the vegetative balance. Another technique is the so-called renewal or return cut. It consists in cutting the tip of the branches older than three years, which have already given fruits in the past, so as to regenerate the branch itself. Then the two-year-old branches are cut, leaving a certain number of fruit shoots on it. This cut will help the flowers grow better and will encourage the growth of a new thin and long branch, called brindillo, which will flower after a year. In this way the tree always remains young and its fruits will have a life cycle of 3 years for each branch.

Fruit tree pruning: Examples of fruit tree pruning

Pruning fruit trees involves knowing both the names assigned to the branches and identifying which ones are fruiting and which ones are not. To do this, they check what kind of gems they contain. We can divide them into two types: the larger ones that will make flowers and fruits and the thinner and elongated ones that are wood buds. The fruiting branches are called brindilli, while those that can be safely eliminated are called suckers and suckers. Let’s try to describe what and how to prune some of the most common fruit trees: Apricot: produces on 1 year long branches from 30 cm onwards. Branches placed on the back and those over 3-5 years old should be cut. Peach: the best fruit is produced on 1 year old branches from 40 to 80 cm long. Cherry tree: it produces on 1 year old branches and the dry parts must be cut and light return cuts made. Apple tree: produces on 1 year old branches. It is possible to make cuts of the new branches to help the circulation of light and air. Pear: the branches develop upwards. Pruning must focus on the young branches as production will take place on these.

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