Friday, April 02, 2010

Pruning Fruit Trees

Now is the time to be pruning your fruit trees.  I have made farm visits on a couple of occasions this week to see the progress of pruning on both commercial and backyard orchards.  This nice weather has given perfect opportunity to get the job done.  Above you can see a before and after picture of apples during the pruning process.  Notice the central leader and the four or five scaffold branches that remain.  He generally begins with the removal of the water sprouts,  broken limbs, thinning cuts and finnally heading back cuts.  The goal is to create a strong fruiting structure and create balance in the tree for sunlight penetration and fruit holding capacity. 
       Below you'll see the pictures of peaches in the pruning process.  Notice the openness of the structure.  The final product should be bowl in shape (open in the middle) with four to five scaffold limbs balanced around the trunk.  Pruning any fruit tree should take three years to get the structure correct and then followed by a lifetime of annual pruning.