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
 
  • Tools
    • 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!
  View our Plant Library for different Fruits & Berries we carry during the year > Planting new dormant Fruit Trees? Check out our guide >