The basics of pruning

The primary purpose of pruning young trees is creation of selected growing forms. Nurture of young trees does not only involve pruning, but also tethering and weighting branches. At pruning young trees, you must have at all times a clear idea what form you want to achieve. At older tees, the purpose of pruning is retention of form and providing healthy and beautiful fruits.

Time of pruning

Time of pruning depends on the type of tree and the form in which you are nurturing. The most common is winter pruning. In late February and the first half of March, before trees awaken from winter rest, we prune apple trees, pear trees, blackberries, blueberries, quince and vines. Plums, cherries, peaches and apricots are pruned in summer to reduce the possibility of infection with diseases. In summer also all trees that grow in different forms are pruned.

Methods of pruning

Pruning encourages growth. When growth is stronger pruning should be less intensive, and when growth is weaker pruning should be more intensive. Weaker growth can be due to illness, so we should check for it before pruning.

Cut just above a healthy bud. The cut should be at an angle of 45 degrees and run away from the bud. If you remove the entire branch, cut just above the branch-collar. This will allow the tree to slowly close the wound. If you cut a branch next to the trunk, the wound will not close and the tree will be exposed to infection. The cut should always be smooth. This is achieved by cutting first at the bottom and then from the top. Edges of the cut should be smooth. If they are not, then smooth them with sharp knife.

Way of pruning depends on type of fertility. If a tree creates flowers on older branches, then keep increasing number of older branches. If a tree flowers on one-year branches, then remove all older ones, that are not needed.

Fertility is regulated by pruning side branches. Branches that grow horizontally are more fertile than those that grow vertically. Therefore, by pruning we form side branches.

Rejuvenation pruning

Rejuvenation pruning encourages old trees to form flowers and fruits. Rejuvenation pruning is done in winter or summer depending on species of fruit tree.

First, remove any dead, damaged and diseased branches and branches that extend to the ground. Then remove all the healthy branches that rub against each other. Remove branches that grow to close to each other. Rejuvenation pruning is process that can take several years, not to encourage excessive growth. In the following years after rejuvenation pruning you should prune to achieve desired form.