Watching a tiny seedling or plant turn into a massive tree is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience for every gardener.
While preparing the perfect soil mix, planting, watering, and feeding your tree are all enjoyable; perhaps the most delightful moment is when your beloved tree begins to bear fruits.
A vibrant, lush green tree holding various colorful fruits is surely a dream. However, as we know, all good things take time, as is the case with trees.
To produce large, healthy fruits, a tree must be fed the right fertilizer, watered, and pruned from time to time. If you are wondering how to prune your tree, read and follow this simple guide.
How to Prune Trees to Produce More Fruits?
Trimming a tree at the right time and from the right places is the key to a greater yield. Large trees, that are often hard to manage and harvest, can be pruned in early spring. In contrast, trees with a moderate growth rate should ideally be pruned during the late winter season to spur their growth.
What to Focus on When Pruning Trees?
Before pruning a tree, you must decide what your goal is. Are you planning to prune because you want to reduce your tree’s massive size, as this might be the case with cherry trees?
Or do you simply wish to cut it down in order to increase its growth rate? Your choice will guide you best towards determining the best time and way of pruning.
Ensure that you do not remove the main supporting tree branches that uphold the tree.
Ideally, prune during the planting time; cut off the new stems 24 to 30 inches (61-76 cm) away from the ground and get rid of any side shoots.
These newly formed side shoots may block sunlight for the foliage beneath, halting their growth and spread.
Best Ways to Prune Fruit Bearing Trees
Removing the Dormant Buds
The best time to prune fruit trees is when they are somewhat dormant or not growing actively.
This way, the leaf’s spread, and size are not as prominent; therefore, it is easier for the pruner to see what he/she is doing.
The removal of inactively growing buds allows the plant to direct its nutrient supply towards the actively growing buds, which ultimately increases the tree’s productivity.
Cutting New Trees
When you plant a new tree, cut off a short stick about 24 to 30 inches high (60-76cm). Remove any side shoots present below the stick to 1 to 2 buds. This particular method promotes low branching, making harvesting easier.
Another benefit is that the tree’s root system becomes more equalized, with even nutrient distribution.
If you are worried that cutting off buds will expose your tree to sunburn, I suggest painting its base with latex paint to prevent borer attack and sunburn.
Upright and Horizontal
Usually, the upright branches are vigorous and remain vegetative, while the horizontal stems bear more fruit.
The combination of these two, upright and horizontal, creates the perfect balance. Such trees’ branches can be bent to 45 to 60 degrees angles for a significant yield.
Young and Fruitful
The young trees with relatively low vigor should preferably be pruned heavily and allowed to develop during the initial three years without producing much fruit.
I recommend you leave the small horizontal branches just as they are and let them produce fruit later on.
For the young trees with a relatively fast growth rate, pruning regularly is not as essential.
You can prune them occasionally or when you think they have outgrown their space.
Such trees should be encouraged to yield fruit earlier by branch bending.
Remove the Diseased
Trees generally are resistant. However, they may fall prey to various fungal infections and pests from time to time.
Such diseased or open branches should be promptly removed before they spread their infection to the surrounding healthy leaves and vines.
Additionally, cut off any water sprouts, suckers, and partially broken branches.
If you see any downward bent branches angled beyond 90 degrees, I advise you to remove them. These branches mostly lose vigor and bear a few reasonably small fruits only.
Ideally, cut off the branch part that is hanging down.
Trim from the Top
As discussed earlier, plants love sunshine and can only produce fruit when sufficient sunlight falls on them.
Mostly, the foliage exposed to natural sunlight produces considerably more fruit than the partially shaded branches.
If your tree’s branches remain under a shade, they are most likely to lose their characteristic color, bear relatively less fruit, and might even die.
Such branches have to be given extra care; however, the chances of fruiting are still low.
Therefore, it is best that you mostly prune the upper parts of the tree only so that the lower branches receive plenty of sunlight.
Surprisingly, new growth often occurs where you cut. In most trees, the cut influences only the buds present within a 1 to 8 inches diameter.
Pruning promotes new bud formation and encourages existing growth to spread out further. Usually, the greater the number of buds cut off, the more extensive is the growth rate of new shoots.
Eliminating the Old Branches
Old branches can often take up excessive amounts of nutrients without producing many results, fruits in this case.
New branches absorb sunlight more readily, synthesize more carbohydrates, and bear more fruits.
Therefore, to allow and promote the formation of new growth, old and diseased branches should be cut off.
What is the best time to Prune Fruit Trees?
Pruning in the summers often exposes the tree’s branches and fruits to excessive sunlight, slows down fruit ripening, and alters the overall growth pattern.
Therefore, trimming during the dormant phase, when the tree is not actively producing any fruit, is the ideal time.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Prune Trees to Produce More Fruits
How do I ensure that I have pruned my tree correctly?
When pruning your tree, make a clean cut without leaving any stubs. Next, wait for a few weeks and notice if your tree forms any new growth on or around the cut surface. If it does, you have pruned your tree in the right manner.
Can trees be pruned during summertime?
Pruning during the summertime can be done to slow down the growth of fast growing trees. The best time to prune such large trees is early summer.
Why should I prune my tree?
Pruning trees has numerous benefits, including increased new growth, prevention of the spread of disease and infection, and greater fruit yield.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.