How-To Video: Pruning a Fruit Tree
This video applies to pruning deciduous (goes dormant and loses its leaves) fruit trees only. Citrus trees are not pruned regularly—only to keep a pleasing shape.
Pruning keeps fruit trees healthy, well-balanced in shape, open to sunlight, and promotes fruiting branches.
- General principles
- Best time to prune: January through mid-February in California
- Prune to remove dead or damaged branches
- Prune to “open up” center of trees for sunlight
- Prune to keep tree well-balanced and to a manageable size—for ease of harvest
- Prune to promote fruiting branches
- Always make cuts about 1/8 or ¼ inches away from (or above, not below!) remaining branch or leaf bud
- Make cut at 45-degree angle
- Use sharp, clean pruning shears
- Hand shear
- Long-handles shear for larger branches
- Pruning saw for biggest branches
- Clean tools after each tree (with rubbing alcohol) to prevent disease from spreading
- Pruning apples and pears
- First: general pruning
- Remove dead or damaged branches
- Open up center of tree
- Reduce size
- Promote fruiting branches.
- Reduce thin, skinny branches to five-seven leaf buds (show little bumps where leaves were)
- This promotes fruiting branches that are fatter, shorter, with larger, rounded tips (show example of)
- Be sure you don’t cut any of these off—these are the branches that bloom and produce fruit
- Peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums
- First: general pruning (as above)
- Promote fruiting branches
- Require heavier pruning that apples and pears
- Reduce entire tree (mature trees only) by about one-third every year.
- These fruits are different from apples and pears—they have new fruiting branches each year.
- If branches are loaded with fruit, be sure to thin (remove) some of the fruit. Branches won’t break and fruit will be larger!
See more articles about: Fruit & Berries