How to tree trimming tips

Tips & Techniques – Tree Removal


By knowing the basics about tree trimming and tree pruning, you may be able to handle the majority of this kind of work yourself. There are a variety of great trimming tips and pruning techniques that can help keep your trees in excellent shape. With the right knowledge and equipment, you can prune your trees as necessary to maintain their appearance and health and to eliminate potentially dangerous dead branches and other common issues.

Get FREE tree service quotes

While there are many tree trimming techniques out there, if you want to this yourself you only need to concern yourself with the basics to keep things in order. Alternatively, you can hire a professional and not think twice about it! Read our guide below for more information.

Reasons to Trim or Prune a Tree

Trees are generally trimmed for one of three purposes: aesthetics, safety or health. For example:

  • Aesthetics – Pruning a tree effectively helps to maintain its shape and appearance. However, you shouldn’t try to impose an unnatural shape or size on a tree. The amount of trimming and pruning that will be needed could seriously damage it.
  • Safety – Dead or broken branches and limbs can fall off at any time, which is a serious safety hazard. If the branches of a tree obstruct your vision while driving, they should be trimmed away. Finally, tree limbs and branches occasionally grow too close to utility lines. Contact the utility company to handle such issues.
  • Health – It is sometimes possible to save an infected tree by strategically pruning away affected branches and limbs. Thinning the crown of a tree improves airflow, which can be very beneficial. If branches are crossing or rubbing together, they should be trimmed, or removed so that they don’t fall unexpectedly.

General Tree Trimming Tips

  • It’s almost always best to trim or prune a tree during its dormant season. Although you can technically prune a pine tree at any time, it is still better to do so when it is dormant. The only exception is when a hazard exists.
  • Be conscientious about the size of the branch that you are going to remove. If it is less than five centimeters in diameter, removing it is fine. If it is between five and 10 centimeters in diameter, you might not want to do it. If it is more than 10 centimeters in diameter, you should only do so if you have a really good reason.
  • Only trim branches that have weak, V-shaped, narrow angles. Retain branches that have strong, U-shaped angles.
  • >Lateral branches should be between one-half and three-quarters the diameter of the stem at point of attachment. Otherwise, they should be removed.
  • When pruning is complete, the ratio of living crown to tree height should be two-thirds.
  • Try to prune away branches when they are young. They are much easier to manage at that point, and the risk of leaving nasty scars is much lower.
  • Don’t trim a branch too close or too long. You shouldn’t leave a large stub or remove the branch collar.

Tree Pruning Tips

The following tips and techniques will help guide you if you’re planning on pruning a tree or if you just want to educate yourself about typical tree trimming care and maintenance techniques.

Crown Thinning

If you need to thin the crown of a tree, you should keep the following tips and techniques in mind:

  • Keep lateral branches as evenly spaced as possible, especially on young trees.
  • Prune away branches that cross other branches or run against them.
  • Never remove more than one-fourth of a living crown at once. If you need to remove more than that, spread it out over a number of years.


Crown Raising
  • To provide clearance for pedestrians and for other reasons, you can raise the crown by carefully pruning the tree. Maintain live branches on at least two-thirds of a tree’s height. If you remove too many branches near the bottom half, the tree may not be able to develop a strong stem.


Crown Reduction


  • If you need to remove more than half of the foliage from a branch, just remove the whole branch.
  • Only reduce the crown of a tree if it’s really necessary. Prune lateral branches that are at least one-third of the diameter of the stem that needs to be removed.

Tree Trimming Techniques

Here are a few tree pruning techniques to keep in mind:

  • Before making a cut, look for the branch collar, which grows from the stem tissue at the bottom base of the branch. Look for the branch ridge, which is on the upper surface and is parallel to the branch angle at the stem.
  • Always cut outside the branch bark ridge and angle your cut down and away from the stem. Take care not to injure the branch collar.
  • Use the same technique to prune dead branches and living branches.
  • If a stem is too long, use the three-cut technique: Make a notch on the side of the stem that faces away from the branch that’s being retained; make the second cut inside the crotch of the branch and above the branch ridge; the third cut will remove the stub by cutting through the stem parallel to the branch bark ridge.

Keep these tricks and techniques from this tree pruning guide in mind before taking on the task of pruning and trimming your trees.

If you want to keep your landscaping attractive, you should consider having your your trees trimmed and pruned. Trimming or pruning helps remove dead or broken limbs and helps keep your tree healthy. The cost of tree trimming depends on a variety of factors, but is especially dependent on whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. Learn more with our Tree Trimming Cost & Prices Guide. For a list of questions to ask a contractor, see our Tree Cutting & Trimming Service Guide.

**Some images courtesy of International Society of Arboriculture.

Get quotes for trimming and pruning


Find local tree trimming and pruning companies and average costs

A Complete Guide to Pruning and Trimming Trees

by Chris Lambton

As leaves fall from the trees each autumn, branches formerly covered in a canopy of dense foliage come out of hiding. Although many gardeners would rather never deal with the falling mess of leaves, I relish this time as an opportunity to inspect each tree canopy. It's now that I carefully make note of any branches I may need to remove from my trees. Taking advantage of these dormant months gives me time to develop a plan for pruning and trimming trees in my landscaping.

In this article, you'll learn:

  • Why is it Important to Prune Trees?
  • Proper Way to Prune a Tree Limb >
  • Tree Pruning Tips >
  • Pruning Thick Tree Branches >
  • Best Tools for Pruning Trees >

Why is it Important to Prune Trees?

Tree limbs are pruned for multiple reasons, all of which result in a better looking and better performing tree. Although trees do grow quite naturally without pruning, this routine landscape maintenance allows your trees to reach their full potential and live a long life. But before you can learn how to trim a tree properly, you need to know why you should trim a tree.

Pruning for healthy trees

Pruning for plant health focuses on removing dead, dying and diseased branches, branches that rub together, and any branch stubs so the entire tree continues to grow in a healthy way. Opening up the canopy to let light and air filter throughout the entire tree allows for increased foliage while decreasing the risk of disease.

At the ground level, suckers and water sprouts weaken wood and steal nutrients from the main tree. By helping a tree establish one main tree and a dominant leader, you create a strong tree that's ultimately able to withstand winter storms and high winds.

Landscape maintenance and appearance pruning combine to create the ideal plant you envision. By pruning and trimming trees in specific ways, you can encourage fruiting and flowering, shape plants into specific forms and control plant size.

Pruning for safer spaces

While well-pruned trees are healthier, they are also stronger. Safety concerns are not often considered, but they're definitely a good reason to prune your trees. Trimming the trees in your yard creates a safe environment for your family and friends.

Dead branches, diseased trees and weak limbs are all a danger to people and property. When pruning trees, take a moment to assess if tree branches are becoming too close to safety lights, electrical lines or are blocking traffic views.

Depending on where you live, it is also important to prune trees to thin out branches and dead limbs before hurricane seasons. Too much foliage can result in trees being top heavy and falling over easier in storms while falling branches may damage a house or plants below.

Properly pruning a tree limb

When thinning, reducing and shaping branches and limbs small enough to cut with hand tools, keep in mind that your cuts are going to encourage new growth. With that in mind, cut limbs ¼ inch above a bud that faces the outside of the plant. This will be the direction of the new growth. Keep your cuts at a 45-degree angle to prevent water damage and disease.

3-cut pruning for thick tree limbs

Properly pruned tree branches form a callus where the removed branch once was. This callus is essential to the health of the tree. Most tree branches that are cut back to the trunk or a main branch will require three cuts to prevent damage to the bark. The first two cuts remove the weight from the tree branch, and the final cut is designed for the best callus growth.

Step 1

The first cut: Underside of branch.

Travel approximately 18 inches up the underside of the branch you are removing. This is the perfect location for your first cut. Cut up about halfway through the branch.

Step 2

The second cut: Topside of branch.

Move to the top side of the branch. Choose a location an inch further out from your first cut. Carefully cut down until the branch breaks free.

Step 3

The third cut: Outside of the collar.

Find the branch collar on your trunk. This is the stem tissue around the base of the branch. With most trees, you'll see a slight swelling and rougher bark in this area. You want to make your final cut just to the outside of this collar, but without leaving a stub. Make a complete cut with a 45-degree angle kicking out from the base of the tree. This prevents water damage and encourages the quick formation of the callus.

Tree Pruning Tips

Pruning trees may seem like a large project—and it can be. I recommend leaving large, established shade trees to qualified arborists and tree care professionals. They have the appropriate equipment and training to remove large branches safely. Ornamental and fruit trees are the perfect place to start learning how to prune a tree. Most are easily accessible and require simple tools.

Start Pruning Trees Early On

A proactive homeowner begins pruning as soon as a tree is planted. Diseased, dead and broken branches should be removed right away. Pruning for shape isn't necessary until the first winter after planting. Regular pruning throughout the life of a tree reduces the amount of work necessary and the stress on the tree. Pruning a tree a little each year creates a strong and beautiful tree from the very beginning.

When is the Best Time of Year to Prune Trees?

There is never a bad time to remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. But most trees benefit from pruning in mid to late winter. Pruning during dormancy encourages new growth as soon as the weather begins to warm. The lack of leaves after autumn allows you to easily identify branches and limbs requiring removal.

Be aware that some trees can bleed sap when pruned during late winter. For example, pruning maple trees in winter is ideal but can result in bleeding. Don't worry – the sap will stop flowing as soon as the tree begins to put on leaves. It isn't dangerous and it won't harm your tree.

Although I like to make my pruning plan in the fall, I always wait a few months before I start to actually prune. Pruning trees in fall can introduce disease. In the event of a warm fall, it could even encourage new growth which will be damaged when temperatures drop.

Pruning trees in summer isn't a popular option, but sometimes can be beneficial if performed with caution. Experienced gardeners use summer pruning to direct growth by slowing down the development of a tree or branch. The best timing for this form of pruning is just after the seasonal growth has reached its peak. By removing the total leaf surface of the plant, you reduce the amount of nutrients sent to the roots and the overall growth of the tree.

Now that we've established when the best time of the year is to prune trees, let's talk about flowering trees. They don't exactly follow the rules. Flowering trees fall into two categories: early bloomers and late bloomers.

Early Blooming Trees

Early blooming trees set buds on last year's growth. For example, a tree blooming early in 2018 is blooming on growth from 2017. If you prune over the winter, your tree won't bloom. Instead, prune right after the tree finishes blooming. Early blooming trees include:

  • Apricot
  • Chokecherry
  • Ornamental Cherry
  • Flowering Plum
  • Magnolia

Late Blooming Trees

Trees that bloom in late spring to early summer set buds on this year's new growth. For example, a tree blooming in June of this year is blooming on growth from this same year. These trees should be pruned in early spring for the best bloom:

  • Catalpa
  • Dogwood
  • American smoke tree
  • Hawthorn
  • Japanese tree lilac

Three Pruning Methods for Trees

There are many ways to improve both the health and the shape of a tree. The goal of each is to create a tree with good light and air circulation, attractive qualities and strength. The four most popular tree pruning methods for general pruning are crown thinning, crown raising, crown reduction and crown cleaning. You may notice that each pruning method involves the crown of the tree. That's because the crown of the tree is essential for producing leaves for photosynthesis. Without a strong and healthy crown, the rest of the tree will weaken over time.

Crown Thinning

Thinning the crown involves trimming a tree to remove specific live branches to reduce the overall density of a tree. Thinning is the most common pruning performed on mature trees. It increases sunlight penetration and air circulation. It can also reduce stress on selected limbs from gravity, wind, ice or snow.

Because the goal is not to change the size or shape of the tree, thinning should be consistent throughout the tree. You should only remove 10 to 20 percent of the tree branches from the edge of the canopy. Large trees benefit from removing end portions of limbs between 1 to 4 inches in diameter. Small ornamental landscape trees and fruit trees can be thinned by removing smaller limbs between ¼ to ½ inch thick. You should trim trees for crown thinning so that the tree still looks completely unpruned.

Crown Raising

Crown raising lifts the bottom edge of tree limbs up to clear for traffic, buildings or a view. This tree pruning method should be performed gradually over a long period of time. Removing too many lower branches all at once can result in a weak tree. Remove only a few limbs less than 4 inches in diameter when pruning every year.

I like to take a few steps back periodically and look at the overall balance of the tree. The live crown on deciduous trees should make up 60 percent of the tree. If the trunk begins to go over 40 percent, the tree could become weakened. Most conifers can be balanced at a 50 percent crown and 50 percent trunk ratio and still remain strong and healthy.

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction is a tree pruning method generally used on older, more mature trees. It can help strengthen the tree and encourage new growth. Crown reduction removes a tree branch back to a growing lateral branch. When the growing season begins in the spring, this lateral branch will become part of the new tree crown.

I consider this method a gentler alternative to tree topping. There are smaller cuts, less of the crown is removed and plenty of old growth remains for structure. While crown thinning is performed to reduce limbs and foliage, the goal of crown reduction is to remove old growth while encouraging new.

Crown Cleaning

Crown cleaning is the removal of dead, diseased and broken branches when trimming a tree. It can be performed at any time and should be included as a part of crown thinning, raising and reduction. Cleaning the tree crown strengthens the overall tree and prevents future damage to both the tree and surrounding property while increasing the overall safety of your landscaping.

Best Fiskars Tools for Pruning Trees

Now that you know how to prune trees, let's look at how to make it as easy as possible. Sharp, quality tree trimming tools can turn a dreaded chore into a quick task. I always keep these tools handy for all my garden pruning and trimming needs:


Fiskars pruners come with ergonomic handles and patented gear technology that gives up to 3X more power for cutting stems and branches up to ¾" thick.


Fiskars loppers provide reach and optimized power to cut through the middle branches up to 2" in diameter, where you need the most leverage.


Fiskars saws are ideal for removing large limbs and branches with clean, quick cuts. A unique tooth design cuts through wood quickly and smoothly.

Extendable pruners and saws

With extendable reach for branches up to 16 feet away, Fiskars extendable tools have a special low-friction coating for cutting branches as thick as 1 1/4 inch.


See recommendations for pruning grapes and berry crops
Pruning is the partial or complete removal of branches and shoots, a method of caring for fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs, aimed at regulating their growth, development and fruiting.


Since the purposes of pruning are different, there are shaping, rejuvenating, pruning to reduce height and limit the volume of the crown, sanitary. Cut types

Formative pruning is carried out mainly in the first three to five years. Its main task is to create an easy-to-care, well-lit, durable crown, which allows you to accelerate the onset of flowering and fruiting, to obtain the greatest decorative effect and yield.

Rejuvenating pruning restores the fading growth of old trees, preserves the activity of growth processes, stimulates the laying of generative buds,

restores decorativeness and increases plant productivity. Needed to renew the crowns of old deciduous trees and shrubs. Allows you to save your favorite varieties of fruit trees and shrubs, as well as old ornamental deciduous trees.

Rejuvenation begins after the first two or three harvests or when flowering decreases. The branches are shortened for perennial wood, trying to keep young, well leafy shoots. The first signs of a decrease in growth activity (weakening of shoot growth to about 15-20 cm) signal the need for anti-aging pruning. It is impossible to be late with it, waiting for the complete attenuation of the apical growth. Usually

such pruning is carried out every 3-4 years.

Pruning to reduce height and limit the volume of the crown is aimed at improving the lighting regime, increasing plant productivity. This is the most labor-intensive type of pruning, mainly used in industrial orchards.

Sanitary pruning is used on neglected trees that have not been pruned for a long time. This pruning can be done not only in spring, but all year round. First of all, broken and dried branches are removed, part of the drooping branches in the lower zone of the crown. Then carry out anti-aging pruning and limit the size of the crown.

Trimming technology
  • Thick branches are cut, having previously filed them from the opposite side so that there are no bark burrs.
  • Thin branches (thinner than 1 cm) are cut with secateurs, leaving a spike of 1.5-2 mm above the bud.
  • Cut branches thicker than 2 cm should be smeared with garden pitch. Very good garden pitch with pine resin - rosin. The layer of garden pitch should be at least 3-5 mm to prevent drying of the cut site and infection in the wound. However, recently there have been recommendations to use latex paints with the addition of copper salts (example: the drug "Rannet", etc.), or the so-called "artificial bark" - Lac Balsam® - a drug that accelerates the recovery of damaged tissues (the process of cambium formation), providing protection against drying out and pathogens, pests, as well as moisture ingress.

But it's not just the timing and technology of pruning that matters. We must not forget about the characteristics of the fruiting of various fruit crops and their varieties, as well as the characteristics of the growth and flowering of ornamental plants.

Time for pruning the garden

Traditionally, it is considered the time of pruning: the end of January - the beginning of April. The weather all the time makes its own adjustments to the timing of pruning, sometimes stretching, sometimes shortening the period of work by about one to one and a half weeks.

If we talk in more detail about the timing of pruning, then the best, of course, will be the dormant period. It is important to remember the main limitation - pruning should be carried out after the end of the growing season and before the start of sap flow, that is, before the buds begin to swell.

There are no special restrictions on pruning in late autumn-winter. The only thing is that in winter it is not advisable to cut at temperatures below: -8-10 ° C. With more severe frosts, the wood becomes brittle, the wounds are crushed, and they do not heal well.

Pruning requires tools and materials

Pruning may require: chainsaw, petrol pruner, branch shredder, air pruner; delimber, saw bars, garden file; stepladder, chisel, metal brush for cleaning wounds and means (garden pitch, paint) for sealing them. In all cases, garden tools must be in good condition to avoid unnecessary injury to plants. The tool must be cleaned and lubricated after work, protected from rust, sharpened before work. Never use the tool if the branches and knots are thicker than the values ​​recommended by the manufacturer for this tool. During work, it is necessary to strictly adhere to safety regulations.


Pruner — used for trimming thin branches (up to 20 mm thick), outwardly similar to scissors with curved blades. Two types of secateurs can be distinguished according to the principle of operation.

1.Parallel Blade Secateurs - Convex working blade runs over the surface of a concave support blade. This pruner is the most common and suitable for all types of pruning.

2.Single cut secateurs - wedge-shaped working blade cuts to contact with the anvil support. Such secateurs are used for trimming shoots and clearing the crown.

Pruner - a modified long-handled pruner used for cutting branches with a thickness of 20 to 50mm. To remove and trim branches at high altitudes, secateurs are used, mounted on a telescopic pole and driven by a special cord.

Garden saw - practically no different from the usual one, except for the crescent shape. The optimal length is 30-35cm. The teeth must be hardened, then they do not need to be sharpened and the tool lasts much longer. A modification of the garden saw is a saw on a long pole, as well as with a folding blade (in the manner of a penknife).

Chainsaw - used in the garden for large volumes of work, allowing you to save time, as well as for work not pursuing decorative purposes. A kind of chainsaw on a rod handle is a benzo-pole saw that allows cutting at a height of up to five meters without the use of stepladders, ladders and lifts.

Garden knife — used for trimming annual growth and cutting green shoots from young trees, it is also convenient for them to clean up cuts, breaks, scuffs. It is also used for furrowing.

Brush cutter - used for trimming shrubs, hedges, and for shaping pruning when the plant needs to be given an unusual shape. A manual brush cutter in appearance resembles giant scissors with long handles. Currently, there are many types of mechanical brush cutters, differing in the type of engine.

Fuel - run on gasoline.

Electric - Requires an electrical outlet or generator in close proximity.

Battery - the most economical, but limited in time depending on the capacity of the battery. They produce less noise than the above types.

Ladders (step-ladders) - when working in the garden, ladders are often indispensable. They allow you to cut at a height without climbing a tree. Modern stairs are made most often of metal, light, strong and durable. Working height from two to eight meters.

Another point is the removal of branches. Usually they are stored in some place in the garden, and then burned. But it is more correct to grind them with special devices - grinders to a fraction of wood chips. In the future, this wood chips can be used both for decoration and for warming ornamental plants in the winter. Another option for using wood chips is composting in special composters.

Chopper is a tool designed to process plant residues. With its help, cut branches, leaves, weed stalks, as well as wood and paper waste are disposed of. The diameter of the crushed branches is 10-300mm. The chips obtained as a result of grinding can be used for mulching plants and beds. The chopper body is made of steel or plastic, inside of which there is an engine and a cutting system in the form of knives or a screw mechanism. On average, the change in the volume of plant residues is 1:10 (decreases by 10 times).

There are two types of shredders: petrol and electric. We use for this purpose - MTD 465.

Crown formation

Crown formation achieves the creation of a strong tree skeleton, a strong bole and the entire trunk, well developed, correctly located around the trunk in space and firmly fused with the trunk of the main branches.

1. Root system; 2. Barrel; 3. Root neck; 4. Stamp; 5. Center conductor; 6. Branch continuation; 7. Skeletal branches of the first order; 8. Branches of the second order; 9. Branches of the third order; 10. Overgrowing branches.

There are many ways (systems) to form the crown of fruit trees. Depending on the type and degree of pruning, various forms of tree crowns can be obtained. The natural forms of the crown are maintained through the implementation of the so-called shaping pruning, which involves periodic thinning of the inner parts of the crown and does not affect the old formed organs.

Selecting the crown type of a fruit tree is the first step in the crown formation process. In horticulture, the most common are those naturally improved during crown pruning, which, when formed, retain a look close to natural. For high-stem fruit trees, it is possible to form a rounded cup-shaped or pyramidal sparse-tiered crown shape. The spindle shape of the crown is usually formed for low stem trees by shortening their semi-skeletal branches by regular pruning of fruiting shoots.

There are also artificially shaped or decorative crowns common among trellis forms. They are also formed by regular pruning of fruit shoots on skeletal branches. The choice of stem height for a fruit tree is predetermined by the local conditions of its growth and depends on the size and purpose of the garden plot. If the area of ​​​​the site allows you to place large plants on it, under which you can move freely, you need to stop at high and semi-stem forms of fruit trees with a stem height of 160 cm and above. If the plot area is limited and the task is to place the maximum number of varieties and types of fruit crops on it, low-stem and even dwarf forms should be preferred.

Stem height of fruit trees:

1. High stem tree, stem height 160-180 cm;

2. Semi stem tree, stem height 120-140 cm;

3. Low stem tree, stem height 80-100 cm;

4. Dwarf tree, trunk height less than 80 cm.

Formation of the crown of fruit trees is a gradual process, it takes place in several stages and techniques.

Common crown forms:


3. Improved longline - Apple trees on medium-sized rootstocks, pear, apricot, cherry, plum;

4. Untiered - Apricot;

5. Bushy -Apple, pear, quince, cherry, plum, peach;

6. Vase-shaped (or bowl-shaped) - Peach, cherry, plum, apricot, apple and pear varieties;


9000 9000 9000 9000


8. Fan compact -Apple trees of medium and small varieties;

9.Palmeta - Pears, apple trees of medium and small varieties;

10. Palmette with slanted branches - Apple, pear from medium to tall varieties with a high degree of branching, rarely stone fruits.

11. Semi-flat - dwarf to tall apple and pear trees. Main application in industrial horticulture.

Peculiarities of pruning fruit trees

Apple pruning. At a young age, the apple tree is prone to strong thickening of the crown, therefore, from the third year after planting, they begin to form the selected type of crown. Skeletal branches should have the desired direction mainly in the direction of the row or at an angle to the trunk and angles of departure from the trunk, and correspond to the design of the crown. Between themselves within the tier of the crown, they should be equal. To do this, strong branches are cut, compared with neighboring ones, and the central conductor is left 20-30 cm above the underlying branches.

The branches of the upper tiers in volumetric crowns are left in the intervals of the projection of the lower branches. Branches with sharp corners are not chosen as skeletal. If necessary, their use as skeletal, struts increase the angle to 40-45 °. All branches unnecessary for the formation are shortened for translation into overgrowing.

Branches of the second order are left no closer than 40-45 cm from the trunk, subsequent ones are placed at intervals of 30-40 cm, and 10-12 cm to the top of the skeletal branch. Small branches, directed downward or running horizontally, are left in the crown. They will not be able to equal and overtake skeletal and semi-skeletal branches, but fruit buds will be laid on them earlier.

Height growth is limited by the transfer of the central conductor and all skeletal branches growing upwards to single side branches, thus reducing the total lateral height of the trees by 1-1.5 m at once. Growth in width is limited by transfer to lateral branches running along the row. At the same time, pruning can achieve different thicknesses of a flat crown, which will be well illuminated, filled with fruit formations and bear fruit.

Depending on the age of the trees and their condition, the degree of limit pruning should be different. If the trees come into fruition, that is, they are still young, pruning (chasing) of long branches and transferring them to the side ones is carried out taking into account varietal characteristics. In varieties of apple trees with a spreading, drooping crown of the Pepin type of Lithuanian, the branches are cut at the bend, transferring them to branches growing upward, in varieties with pyramidal, compressed crowns (type of Papirovka, anise), the crown is expanded and cut to the outer branches. The degree of pruning of such trees should not be very strong, otherwise the appearance of a large number of regenerative shoots will cause excessive thickening of the trees.

If apple trees have weak annual growth (up to 20-30 cm), and the quality of the fruit has deteriorated, signs of fruit shrinkage appear, then pruning is done more strongly. Along with lowering the crown to 1.5 m, it is possible to apply a lateral restriction, crown lobing, to build a light channel (channel fan crown) along the entire row to brighten the internal parts, and to make a deep rejuvenation of the tree.

Apple varieties differ in their growth and fruiting patterns. Varieties that bear fruit mainly on kolchatka (Papirovka, Borovinka) build good crowns. If long annual branches (more than 60 cm) are formed, they are pruned for better fouling with ringlets. Over the years, branches with old rings are cut out, the age of which can be more than 10 years. A group of varieties fruiting on twigs, on annual wood (Pepin Lithuanian, Calvil Snow, Mackintosh, Golden Delicious) are rapidly increasing their yield. With a large number of branches, the trees are carefully thinned out so as not to delay fruiting. Branch deflection is widely used. A group of varieties that bear fruit on kolchatka and on annual growths (Jonathan) are pruned depending on their condition. So that long growths are not exposed, the tree is shortened to form lateral branches, if many annual branches thicken each other, they are thinned out, that is, two pruning methods are combined.

Pear trimming . Fruit and growth formations of a pear, the structure of the crown are similar to an apple tree. General pruning techniques are the same as for an apple tree. However, the pear has some features. The crown of a pear is lighter and more sparse than that of an apple tree, long growths are covered with a large number of small overgrown branches.

Due to the general weak branching of most varieties, the pear is cut more regularly and more strongly in the shortening type. Having a compressed pyramidal crown, the pear needs to cut the branches inside the crown, to trim the vertical branches with their translation not lateral, to lower the crown.

Varietal pruning of pear takes into account the nature of fruiting. Varieties with annular type of fruiting (Winter Dekanka, Bere Ardanpon, Bessemyanka) are thinned out at a young age, pruning long annual growths.

In highly branched varieties (Bere Ligelya, Lesnaya Krasiva, Bere Boek, Bere Dil), shoots are pinched to stop their growth in length and stimulate the laying of fruit buds.

The third group of cultivars (Klapp's Favorite, Bere Giffard, Williams, Cure) has fruit formations of different types, depending on which they are pruned. Long hanging branches are pruned with a transfer to the internal ones to lift them, branches of medium length, covered with annuli, are not pruned. In the latter case, thinning is carried out. Over the years, a pear develops a lot of annulus and unproductive fruits. Without pruning, fruit quality and yield are reduced. Old fruit formations are thinned out, old branches are cut out, rejuvenation is done using young tops.

Quince pruning . Quince is formed in the form of a bush or a low tree. Long increments are shortened to cause a compact background. In the future, make sanitary pruning. In aging trees, old branches are removed.

Cherry pruning . Tree-like cherries are formed according to a sparse-tiered system, in which there are 5-6 large branches.

In the first years of fruiting, only light thinning is done and branches longer than 50 cm are shortened. Anti-aging pruning is carried out with a decrease in growth. When the crown thickens, thinning is performed. Bushy cherries form from 8-10 branches. Shorten shoots longer than 50 cm. The main attention is paid to thinning. When exposure begins, especially of the inner parts of the crown, rejuvenation is done by cutting off the bare part of the skeletal branches to good branching. If young top shoots appear, old branches are cut to these neoplasms. In coppice cherries form a bush of 2-3 branches. During the fruiting period, aging branches are successively replaced by strong offspring, weak offspring are removed.

Cherry pruning. Cherries are formed according to a tiered or non-tiered system; to reduce the height of the trees, form a bowl. Sweet cherries tend to give strong growth (up to 1.5 m), therefore, for better fouling with bouquet branches, they are shortened by 1/2-1/3 of their length. With good nutrition, sweet cherries without pruning grow well and bear fruit. In aging trees, growth processes decrease. In this case, rejuvenation is performed to cause the growth of new young shoots.

Plum cutting. Crowns are formed according to a sparse-tiered or improved-bush system. Varieties that are weakly branching at a young age (Giant, Early ripening red, Anna Shpet) give strong growths that are poorly overgrown with lateral branches. Therefore, slight shortening and even tweezing in summer cause lateral growths in these branches, and in general, the tree has a compact crown. In trees with average growths (30-40 cm), the branches are not shortened and only thinned out in places of thickening.

With age, old branches with weak growths (less than 10-15 cm) are cut out with transfer to young branches, or "tops".

Pruning cherry plum. Cherry plum is formed by a bush or by a sparse-tiered system. Long (over 50 cm) growths are shortened. Cherry plum begins to bear fruit in the third year, forms many branches and needs thinning of the crown. In aging trees, anti-aging pruning is used (old branches are shortened to strong young branches).

Apricot pruning. The crown is formed according to a non-tiered or sparse-tiered system. In young trees, long growths are shortened by 1/2-1/3 of the length; in strongly branching varieties and forms, thinning is done. When the growth is weakened, a light rejuvenating pruning is carried out. To increase the winter hardiness of flower buds, summer pruning is performed in May - June. After it, young premature shoots appear, fruit buds on which do not have time to fully form and are slightly late during flowering. After the crowns freeze, pruning is done in the summer, dry, diseased, frost-damaged branches are cut out.

Peach pruning. Peach formation is carried out according to an improved cup-shaped (vase-shaped) system, according to which the central conductor is cut out to improve the light regime in the crown. Every year, fatty, bouquet and abnormal shoots are cut out from the peach (shoots where all the buds are fruit, that is, there are no leaves, so the fruits are tied and dry up with the shoot). Shoots of medium length (20-40 cm) are slightly shortened. In peach, the so-called “replacement” pruning is used. Part of the shoots are cut off in the spring, leaving only two buds at the base, on which two shoots will grow over the summer. The lower one is again cut into two buds (“for replacement”), and the upper one is left for fruiting, pruned slightly. The next year, the fruit-bearing shoot is completely cut out, and of the two new ones on the replacement knot, one is cut into two buds, the other is left to bear fruit. After freezing in the summer, dry, diseased branches are removed from the peach, frost holes are healed.

Sea buckthorn pruning. In female plants at a young age, in order to accelerate fruiting, the lateral branches of the last year are rejected every spring to a horizontal position (tie them with twine to the stem or pegs). By autumn, a large number of short shoots appear on them and the branches are untied. This helps to accelerate the laying of fruit branches.

At harvest, twigs strewn with berries that do not have lateral branches (ripe cobs) are cut along with the berries to speed up the harvest. If this is not done, then they dry out and are cut out in the spring.

To improve fruiting, root shoots are removed. In aging plants (6-8 years), rejuvenating pruning is done. Branches are cut on three-year-old wood.

Chokeberry pruning (chokeberry). Aronia is grown as a bush 2-2.5 m high. It forms many shoots from the base of the bush. Therefore, they try to have 10-12 good, fruit-bearing branches of different ages, and the rest - old, sick, weak young ones - are removed at the very base.

Walnut pruning. Walnut trees naturally form strong treelike plants. Pruning them is similar to pruning apple and pear trees. Young trees are formed according to a sparse-tiered or non-tiered system with 6-10 branches.

In subsequent years, one-year-old branches are shortened a little, if they are densely arranged, they are thinned out. They try to get a lot of small shoots on which the crop is formed. Sanitary pruning is done, dry, diseased, intertwining branches are cut out. In a walnut, young branches sometimes grow thicker than the branches from which they extend. Therefore, they monitor the subordination of the branches: the axial one should be thicker and longer than the side ones extending from it.

When the crown is frozen, damaged branches are cut to healthy wood. If the trees freeze to the root neck, then cut off "on the stump", they are restored.

Regrafting fruit trees is one of the pruning methods. Grow fruit trees before the first harvest for many years. Therefore, if it turns out that the fruits or productivity of trees do not deserve attention, one should not rush to uproot them. Low-value healthy trees can be re-grafted with cuttings of a good variety, and they will bear fruit already in the 3-4th year. For regrafting, first of all, it is necessary to prepare cuttings of a new variety. They are cut from approved trees either in the late autumn period and stored in basements buried 1/3 in wet sand or under snow, or at the end of winter and also stored in basements until grafting. For regrafting, a grafting (copulating), budding and gardening knife, a pruner, a file, a garden pitch, and a strapping polymeric tape are prepared. Tools must be sharpened and absolutely clean. In order not to lose the name of the grafted variety over the years, labels are prepared, and then they are updated annually. Make entries in the label books (number of row and tree, variety name and year of regrafting).

The best time for re-grafting is early spring. If the method of regrafting is chosen by copulation, into a side cut, or split, then the work can be carried out before sap flow (before the separation of the bark), in March - April. Re-grafting by methods for the bark, budding is carried out in the presence of sap flow at the end of April - in May. Trees are up to 10-15 years old. It is more convenient to regraft young trees by copulation and budding. Developed grafted shoots strengthen.

Root, or standard, shoots developing below the grafting site at the base of trees that have died from frost, can also be grafted in spring with cultivated cuttings of the same species.

With all grafting, two components grow together - the stock and the scion. The main condition for the successful growth of rootstock and scion (compatibility) is their close botanical relationship. Often there are breaks of a plum grafted onto an apricot, an apple tree grafted onto a Chinese. When apple trees are re-grafted with other varieties of apple trees, breaks are also observed at the grafting sites, poor growth of grafted cuttings, yellow (sometimes with reddening) color of leaves on grafted shoots, and early leaf fall. A sign of incompatibility is spherical growths of tissues of the rootstock or scion at the grafting sites. This means that the desired variety, such as apple trees, should be grafted onto another apple tree. It is often difficult to predict the compatibility, growth and productivity of components in varieties of different combinations. Sometimes the results can only be obtained from the actual test.

Pruning fruit trees in spring - tips for beginners and beyond

Have you been looking for a scheme for pruning fruit trees in spring in detail? We have collected for you schemes and recommendations for apple, pear, cherry, plum, sweet cherry, peach and apricot in one material. Save to bookmarks!

In order to truly please you with an excellent harvest this season of apple, pear, cherry and other garden crops, in no case should you neglect the spring pruning of fruit trees. This procedure should be approached with caution, because it is worth overdoing it - and the tree can weaken or even die, not to mention poor fruiting or its absence.

For example, when starting spring pruning of apple trees, you should take into account that about three or four dozen leaves feed only one fruit!

Timing of tree pruning in spring

An important issue in tree pruning is when to do it. If this procedure is carried out too early, while the temperatures are still low, the tree may not tolerate frost. If you tighten with pruning before the start of sap flow, the plant will "cry" for a long time.

The ideal weather for "mowing" the garden is clear, slightly frosty, with an air temperature of at least -5°C. In the middle lane, the timing of pruning trees in spring is usually limited to the period from mid-March to mid-April.

Important nuances of spring pruning of fruit trees

Many novice gardeners who pick up pruners for the first time make the same mistakes, and failure to meet deadlines is just one of them. What is important to remember when starting spring pruning of the garden?

1. Inventory preparation. The tools you use for pruning must be sharpened and disinfected. Otherwise, you risk not only causing unnecessary injury to the tree, but also infecting the site of damage.

For better sharpening, the tool can be pre-soaked for half an hour in salt water (1 tbsp per 1 glass of water).

2. Pruning young trees. Over-pruning of non-fruit bearing trees should be avoided. The essence of the procedure should be to remove diseased, damaged, thickening crown or competing shoots with skeletal branches, as well as shortening annual growths to subordinate the branches to the central conductor.

3. Cutting technique. Shoots that you want to remove completely must be cut into a ring without leaving stumps. In order not to break off the bark when cutting a thick branch, first make a notch from the underside, and only then completely cut the branch from above.

4. Attention to the kidneys. Cut carefully so as not to accidentally hit the buds with the edge of the blade. When shortening to a kidney, the secateurs are brought in from the side of the adjacent branch, placing it at an angle of 45 degrees in the direction from the base to the top of the shoot. The cutting blade should be 1-2 mm below the base of the kidney, and the second blade should be 1-2 mm above.

Bud pruning

Apple pruning in spring

The essence of spring pruning of young apple trees is to form a symmetrical crown. The first pruning is carried out immediately after planting. The stem is shortened to a height of 80-90 cm. If there are lateral shoots, 3-5 of the strongest, directed in different directions, are selected and shortened by 1/4-1/3 of the length. If there are no side shoots, this procedure is carried out in the spring of next year.

Skeletal branches should be cut in such a way that the central conductor rises 20-25 cm above the upper ones, and the upper branches are shorter than the lower ones.

In subsequent years, the scheme of pruning apple trees in spring involves the removal of all dry, frozen, damaged shoots, all branches thickening the crown, growing towards the center. It is also important to observe the subordination of the branches and not allow the rest of the skeletal branches to be higher than the central conductor.

The basic principles of pruning apple trees are presented in the following video:

Columnar apple trees are formed vertically, respectively, and the principle of their spring pruning will be somewhat different.

Rejuvenating pruning of apple trees in spring requires special care. If you see that the skeletal branches are rotten, rotten and obviously unviable, no pruning will help save the tree, but, on the contrary, will only bring its death closer.

Pruning starts with large branches. When pruning old apple trees, it is better to shorten or remove a few large branches than many young shoots. So it will be easier for the tree to endure this painful procedure. In trees that are too tall, the central conductor is also shortened by about a third, forming a crown from side branches in subordination to it.

For more detailed instructions, look in our material How to prune an apple tree in spring - tips for beginner gardeners

Pruning a pear in spring

In fact, spring pruning of pears is little different from pruning an apple tree. The schemes for the formation of both trees are approximately the same.

The main difference is that if the branches of an apple tree are cut into a ring, then the branches of a pear tree are cut into a side shoot. The fact is that a strong pruning of this culture provokes excessive formation of tops.

Like an apple tree, a pear tree is cut for the first time immediately after planting: the central guide is shortened to 80-90 cm and all side shoots of the seedling are cut off.

Starting from the second year, young pears are formed so that the tree has several tiers of 3-5 skeletal branches diverging like a fan in each, subordinate to the central conductor (they should be 20-25 cm below the central conductor).

Pruning old pears includes not only the removal of frozen, dry, damaged shoots, but the pruning of all side branches that grow vertically or inward, compete with skeletal branches.

To force a branch that has begun to grow upwards to develop horizontally, it is pruned into a strong outer lateral bud. If necessary, they also tie a branch to a peg stuck in the ground in order to bend it a little. This method is good for old pears with a dense crown, which may not survive strong anti-aging pruning.

How to do it with the least stress on the tree, see the video:

Pruning a peach in spring

It is difficult to grow a peach in the middle lane, but it is possible. One of the main stages of caring for this tree is competent pruning, in which the crown is formed in the form of a bowl with a very low stem.

Immediately after planting the seedling, cut the stem to a height of 20 cm above the grafting site. This is necessary so that the fruit branches are laid low. Thanks to this, sleeping buds will be covered with a layer of snow in winter.

The peculiarity of the peach tree is that it bears fruit on annual shoots. Therefore, when pruning, old branches do not need to be spared.

In colder regions where freezing is possible, peach is recommended to be cut during flowering.

During the first "real" peach pruning in spring, young shoots are shortened to 3 buds. During the season, new shoots will grow in this place, which will bear fruit.

In subsequent years, the crown is shaped so that there are 3-5 skeletal branches on the tree. More powerful fruit-bearing shoots are shortened into replacement knots (up to about 20 cm). During the season, they will give several shoots of one-year growth, on which a crop is formed.

The skeletal branches are pruned on the bud to direct the growth of the shoot in the right direction. If you “pity” a peach and do not cut it in the spring, the crown will be exposed, and the crop will “pass” to the upper branches.

In addition, damaged, diseased, frozen branches are pruned every spring.

To make the fruits grow larger, shorten the annual growth on which they will be tied by one third.

Watch the video for details of this process:

Pruning apricots in spring

Pruning apricots in spring is slightly different from pruning in spring.

Immediately after planting, the central conductor is cut to a height of about 50-75 cm and all small lateral shoots are removed on the ring. The next year, 2-3 skeletal branches are selected on the tree and shortened to 20-25 cm.

ring. At the same time, the central conductor is cut so that it is 10-15 cm higher than the side branches.

In the third year of life, it is necessary to carry out spring pruning so that 3-5 skeletal branches remain in the lower tier, located at an angle of 45-60 degrees with respect to the central conductor. They are shortened to 60 cm so that new branches of the second order are "laid" at this level. The remaining shoots are cut into a ring. The central conductor should be 25 cm longer than the skeletal branches.

Shoots that are at a more obtuse angle shorten slightly less.

In the subsequent years of the tree's life, sanitary pruning is carried out in the spring: dried branches that have suffered from frost are cut off, shoots growing inside are removed to the ring. The optimal maximum height of an apricot tree is 2-2.2 m, therefore, when pruning, they try to transfer growth to lateral shoots.

Watch a video on how to do it right:

Pruning cherries in spring

There is a misconception that cherries don't need pruning at all. In reality, of course, this is not the case. It is worth skipping a few spring pruning cherries, as the shoots begin to become bare and dry, and the thickened crown will not transmit light well. Naturally, in such conditions, the fruits will shrink, and the yield will decrease.

The main principle of cherry pruning is that shoots should be thinned rather than shortened.

Cut into a ring all dry branches, as well as bare shoots. To form a spreading crown, strong shoots are shortened to a bud growing outward.

Immediately after planting, all lateral shoots are removed, and the stem is shortened by 18-25 cm. conductor.

In the second year, 5-6 strong branches are left on the tree. All other shoots that grow at an acute angle and compete with skeletal branches and conductor are removed to the ring, leaving no stumps.

In subsequent years, the scheme of pruning cherries in the spring is reduced to thinning, removal of damaged and dry branches, as well as a small pruning of fruit-bearing branches to the outer bud.

A well-formed mature cherry tree should have approximately 6-8 skeletal branches growing at an angle of at least 45 degrees to the central conductor.

For more detailed instructions on pruning this fruit crop, see our resource Pruning cherries - forming the right crown year after year.

And the video shows it more clearly:

Cherry pruning in spring

Cherry crown should be compact. These trees bear fruit on bouquet twigs and annual shoots, therefore, without spring pruning, cherries are exposed, stretched, and bring little harvest.

Immediately after planting, the stem is shortened to 50-70 cm. If the seedling is not cut immediately and the lower tier of branches is allowed to be laid higher than at the level of 1 m, the fruiting zone will be located too high.

In the second year of the tree's life, the skeletal branches are cut to the outer bud, shortening by about a third. In this case, it is important to remove branches on the ring that compete with the central conductor, if any.

In subsequent years, the scheme for pruning sweet cherries in the spring is as follows: side shoots growing on skeletal branches must be cut to the outer bud, shortened by a third to prevent them from being exposed. Too long skeletal branches are shortened according to the same principle, placing the cut immediately above a strong side shoot.

See video for more details on how to do this:

Plum pruning in spring

Plum pruning in spring is similar to cherry pruning. For this crop, the very first pruning immediately after planting the plant in the garden is also crucial. If during this period you "regret" the seedling and do not shorten the stem to 75 cm, it will be very difficult to form the tree correctly, if possible, then very difficult.

In the second year of the tree's life, branches competing with the central conductor are removed, and the skeletal branches are also slightly shortened, cutting them into a bud for better branching.

In subsequent years, all shoots that thicken the crown, compete with the main branches, suffer from mechanical damage, frost or become bare are removed to the ring.

Learn more