Waiting For The Ripe Time: How To Trim Fruit Trees Without Killing Them

Posted on: 11 August 2015

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Fruit trees can be a fantastic asset to add to your property. They provide shade, beauty, and, best of all, food. They increase your home's value, but only once they are mature and fruiting. How can you get them there? Fruit trees can be sensitive to their environment, so it's very important to protect them and care for them properly. That means waiting for the right time to prune and trim them. Here's what you need to know.

Winter for Health, Spring for Stunting

Deciding when to prune your fruit tree is the first step to success. You have a much lower chance of completely wrecking your tree when you take the pruners to it when it's dormant. For one, you can see what you're doing better without the foliage. Also, when you cut large sections out of a tree in full bloom, you expose the fruit and leaves to sunburn, which will seriously reduce your yield and could permanently damage the tree. Lastly, if you cut into the tree when it's blooming, you risk sending it into shock. Yes, trees can go into shock too, and when that happens, all fruit production ceases, growth halts, and the tree becomes vulnerable to parasites, disease and inclement weather.

If your goal is to stunt the growth of your tree because it seems to be getting out of hand, prune it during late spring or early summer. Be careful not to take whole branches off of the tree, prune it to shape it instead of pruning it to reduce growth. The pruning itself will help slow the growth of the tree, you don't need to hack at it.

Prune the Right Branches

You can't clip a tree willy-nilly and expect to have good results. To be effective at pruning your fruit trees, you'll have to think like a tree. Plants and trees have a method to their madness and grow in patterns that befit the plant's environment. Light encourages the tree to send its nutrients toward the sun, which creates upward growth toward the nearest light source. If your tree is in partial shade, it will grow lop-sided toward the light. In order to encourage even growth, you must prune the tree where it is trying to reach for the light.

This will be a constant process of clipping small sections off of the branches that grow faster than the other parts of the tree, being careful to avoid clipping the wrong branches. If you take parts of the shorter branches, you risk exacerbating the accelerated growth of the longer ones. You must be diligent to avoid the need for over-pruning just to get the tree back into the shape you want it. If you let the tree get too far ahead of you, it is best to wait until winter to re-shape the tree to avoid it going into shock. Check the growth of your tree once per week to see if it is growing evenly, and if not, to catch it early enough to prune it before winter.

If you've never grown fruit trees before, it can be easy to mess them up. In order to have the healthiest, happiest trees on the block, you have to put a little effort into them when they're young. Before you know it, your house will be worth more, you'll be eating fresh, home-grown fruits, and be the envy of the neighborhood. Just make sure that you plant your trees in the right location, give them plenty of water to help them establish their roots, and prune them correctly. You can't go wrong!

For more information, visit sites like http://www.schulhofftlc.com, or work with an experienced tree trimming company.