Pruning fruit trees in spring

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Pruning fruit trees is an important agrotechnical technique that can significantly increase yields and maintain tree health for many years. In the article, we will talk about the main types and techniques of pruning, we will tell you what tool you need and how to properly handle the resulting wounds.

Pruning fruit trees in spring

The complete or partial removal of branches, shoots, aimed at regulating the growth, as well as the development and fruiting of fruit trees is called pruning. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this agricultural technique when caring for a garden. Pruning makes it possible to form the crown correctly, depending on the variety, allows light and air to better penetrate the branches, which makes the tree healthy and the harvest rich.

Pruning is recommended in late winter or early spring (late February or first half of March), when the plants have not yet awakened from winter dormancy, but the threat of severe frosts (below minus 15 degrees) has already passed. It is very important to do this before the start of sap flow and swelling of the buds, otherwise, instead of benefit, you can inflict tangible harm on the plant, leading to the development of diseases and even drying out of large branches.

Note:some gardeners prune trees in the fall. However, practice shows that autumn pruning greatly reduces the frost resistance of the plant. In the autumn, you can only prune shrubs (honeysuckle, currants, gooseberries).

Types of trimming

Pruning can pursue various goals, there are several of its main types:

  1. Formative pruning is carried out in young trees, which are 3-5 years old, and is intended for the initial formation of their crown. It makes it possible to create a strong and well-lit, easy-care crown, helps to accelerate the beginning of flowering and fruiting. If you need to increase the growth rate, formative pruning is recommended in January. And if it is necessary to slow down the growth, then the removal of branches is best done in mid-March..
  2. Maintenance pruning is used for well-formed, well-bearing trees. Its main purpose is to combat thickening in the center of the crown. Regulatory pruning helps to avoid overloading and maintains the tree’s or shrub’s ability to bear fruit well over time. It is best to spend it in the second half of March..
  3. Rejuvenating pruning aims to restore the growth of old trees and shrubs. Its implementation activates the growth process of young shoots, stimulates the appearance of generative buds, effectively increases productivity. It is carried out if no growth of new young branches is observed within two years. The best time for anti-aging pruning is mid-February.
  4. Sanitary pruning is used to restore old, neglected trees that have not been pruned for many years. It can be carried out both in the spring and throughout the year. In this case, branches are removed that have dried and broken, drooped in the lower part of the crown, damaged by pests or diseases.

Basic techniques and cutting technology

In practice, there are two main methods of pruning shrubs and fruit trees..

Shortening

They are used if the location of individual branches in the crown of a tree needs to be changed. The essence of this technique is that if an annual branch is cut off, then the cut is made above the bud, the stump is not left. Perennial branches are usually shortened to change the direction of their growth, while the cut is made over any desired branch. If the branch to which the transfer is carried out is smaller in diameter than the one that is being removed, then a stump is left, it is cut out later (in spring or summer next year).

Pruning fruit trees in spring

Thinning

They are used with an overly thickened crown. The essence of the technique is that the branches, where necessary, are completely removed.

Spring pruning should be a combination of both. Heavy and long branches are cut out in parts with a saw or a hacksaw, having previously been sawed from the opposite side so that the bark does not scuff. If the branch grows at an acute angle, it is not cut perpendicularly, but according to the growth angle. Branches that are thinner than 1 cm in diameter are cut with a pruner.

How and what to prune from different fruit trees

Different types of fruit trees require different pruning approaches.

For pears and apple trees, an annual formative pruning is required, which consists in maintaining the central trunk and removing the top, which will contribute to better crown lighting and the growth of young shoots from the main trunk.

For plums, it is best to form a cupped crown by cutting out branches growing too close together as necessary. Too long shoots in this case must be shortened.

Apricots and peaches develop very quickly. Therefore, in order to get a rich high-quality harvest every year, you need to be very careful about pruning. In this case, first of all, the top of the tree and the branches growing near the ground are cut off. You should know that it is not recommended to feed apricots and peaches in the spring, since after pruning the branches can grow very quickly.

Correct pruning of fruit trees – training video

Treatment of wounds

When removing unnecessary branches, wounds are inflicted on the tree, small or large, depending on the diameter. Small ones are not treated, and wounds larger than 10 mm in young trees and larger than 20 mm in old ones need to be covered with garden varnish or oil paint.

If the trimming was carried out with a saw, then before applying the paint, the wounds are cleaned with a knife, making the cut surface smooth, and immediately after that a protective compound is applied. It should be remembered that large slices are a “great place” for various diseases to penetrate. In addition, if not treated, a large amount of moisture can be lost through them, such “wounds” are more susceptible to low temperatures.

Pruning fruit trees in spring

As a protective composition, it is best to use a ready-made garden pitch, which is sold in any specialty store. Of the paints, it is recommended to use only oil paints, which include red lead or ocher. It is forbidden to use nitro-dyes and zinc white for these purposes, as they burn the surface of the wound and impair healing. Effective enough to accelerate healing is the treatment of slices with growth stimulants that promote rapid overgrowth..

Spring Pruning Tools

Pruning shears are most often used when pruning. Today you can find a lot of modifications of this tool, the main difference in this case will be the number of cutting blades.

Standard secateurs, one-sided(one blade) can be used to remove live branches. To do this, hold the tool so that the part of the branch to be removed is located on the side of the supporting blade.

Gardening scissors(pruning shears with two blades) is also used to trim thin green shoots.

Anvil pruner(one blade, and the second plate acts as a stop) is great for removing rather thick (up to 3 mm in diameter) dry old branches.

Lopper– a tool for pruning shoots growing high above the ground. Sometimes it can be equipped with a small hacksaw, which allows you to cut fairly thick branches.

Shrub prunerequipped with reinforced blades and extended handles. Suitable for cutting thick (up to 28 mm) dry hard branches.

Garden hacksaws and sawsused if it is necessary to remove branches, the diameter of which exceeds 30 mm.

Pruning fruit trees in spring

Spring pruning of trees and shrubs is one of the most important gardening techniques. Its main goal is to obtain the smallest possible plant with a powerful skeleton and evenly spaced branches. Pruning allows for a balance between tree growth and fruiting, resulting in increased quality and quantity of fruit. At the same time, diseases and pests become less “aggressive”, the life of the plant is significantly increased.

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