Reasons to Prune Fruit Trees

Nov - 28

Reasons to Prune Fruit Trees

A successful home garden demands a normal care routine, including pruning. Young trees particularly need pruning for proper growth, but even older fruit trees also require routine branch removal to thrive. Pruning serves functional and aesthetic purposes. Most fruit tree pruning takes place when the tree is dormant from December during mid-February. Understanding the effects of pruning helps you to properly remove the branches for optimum tree health.


Pruning done in the first years of a fruit tree growth is focused on shaping the tree into a functional, powerful structure. The pruning procedure permits you to choose the best branches to form a balanced tree form. Branches growing tightly or crossing one another are removed. The early pruning also keeps the tree into a manageable size — both in stature and length of the tree branches. Shaping up a young tree keeps it from getting overgrown and out of control.


It seems counterproductive to remove branches when you would like a bumper fruit crop, but that’s exactly what fruit trees need for quality production. Too many branches and buds on the tree mean all of that fruit must compete for space and energy from the tree to grow. The fruit is frequently lower quality when the tree is loaded with a lot of fruit and it may not grow to full size. Trees which are regularly pruned produce fruit having a higher sugar content and constant ripening. Pruning also enables you to eliminate the branches which no longer produce well.

Disease and Pest Infestation Removal

Even with proper care, fruit trees are susceptible to pest infestation and infection brought on by bacteria or fungus. When left unchecked, the entire tree becomes damaged and might die from the pest damage or infection. For instance, fire blight affects pear and apple trees, turning the leaves and stems leaving and black oozing cankers on the branches. Elimination of the affected areas at the very first indication of a problem can prevent the harm from spreading into the remainder of the tree.

Overall Health

Regular pruning retains a fruit tree healthy overall. Removing branches strategically prevents overcrowding of the tree. By removing the weaker branches, you give the powerful, healthy branches more space to grow. The lower and inner branches get more sunlight with the removal of a number of the best branches. This even distribution of sunlight implies your fruit tree is able to grow more vigorously. A powerful, vigorous tree is not as susceptible to damage from environmental factors, disease or pests. If the tree does get damage, removing dead, damaged and diseased branches from the tree stops the spread so the remaining portions of the tree stay healthy and continue growing.

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