With spring just around the corner, thoughts turn to fruit tree pruning. Here on the Wet Coast, we usually prune fruit trees in the late winter or early spring. At this time, trees are still dormant and the risk of spreading fungal disease lessens with the drier, sunnier weather. It is important to prune before buds break but after the worst of the winter weather has passed.
- Make proper pruning cuts.
- Remove no more than 25-30% of the tree’s canopy each year.
- Keep a low and spreading structure for ease of picking fruit.
- Keep the centre open to maintain light penetration.
- Maintain the vigorous sprouts and remove the weak.
Pruning for Fruit Production
By reducing and thinning out last year’s growth and spur networks, structure and light penetration is encouraged. The tree’s energy is sent to the remaining canopy and the end result is larger, nicely spaced fruit.
If a previously pruned tree has been left for many years, a renovation may be required. This involves making larger cuts with the objectives of reducing the height and opening up the remaining structure to improve fruit accessibility and light penetration. Depending on the tree, this can take a few years to complete. Once the desired structure has been obtained, pruning for fruit becomes the main objective.