How to trim small tree branches


How to Prune Small Trees and Shrubs

A few minutes spent pruning is one of the best things you can do for the plants in your yard, but it’s one of the most neglected tasks around the home. Why? Because for most of us, it’s a black art. The risks of butchery seem high, and the rewards low. “But pruning isn’t difficult,” says This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook. “And what you get in return is thicker foliage, more flowers, and healthier plants.”

Here we show you a few simple pruning techniques and how to apply them to small trees and shrubs on your property and the best time to do so.

Susan Carlson

Pruning Small Flowering Trees

Avoid pruning a young or newly planted tree — it needs as many leaves as possible to produce the food required for good root growth. Remove only dead, broken, or injured branches, as well as those that cross or rub each other. And always prune back to a healthy stem or branch without leaving stubs. This eliminates hiding places for pests and diseases, and looks better. Never cut back the plant’s leader — the top-most growing point of the tree — which is vital to letting the tree develop its natural form.

What to Prune from a Tree

Susan Carlson

A. Suckers that grow from the roots or base of the trunk

B. Limbs that sag or grow close to the ground

C. Branches that form an acute angle with the trunk

D. Watersprouts that shoot up from main “scaffold” branches

E. Limbs that are dead, diseased, or broken

F. Branches that grow parallel to and too close to another

G. Branches that cross or rub against others

H. Limbs that compete with the tree’s central leader

Once the tree is a few years old, shape it gradually over the course of several years to maximize foliage and flowering. The tree’s branches should be well-spaced up the trunk and spiraling around it. As a guideline, prune no more than one-fourth of the tree’s total leaf area in a single year. To raise the tree’s crown or create clearance beneath it, remove the lowest branches. Also target branches that are spaced too closely together or that join the trunk at a narrow angle — 45 degrees or less. These form weak limb attachments and will break easily in wind or under the weight of snow and ice.

Susan Carlson

When Removing an Entire Tree Branch

Cut as close to the branch collar — the swollen ring of bark where the limb meets the main stem or trunk — as possible without cutting into it. When cutting branches more than 1 inch in diameter, avoid tearing or stripping bark by using a pruning saw and the three-cut method shown below. A good pruning cut will heal quickly and naturally without the use of dressings or poultices.

Three-cut tree branch removal

Susan Carlson

To prune a tree limb cleanly and safely, as shown in the image above, use a pruning saw and make these three sequential cuts:

  1. On the bottom of the limb between 6 and 12 inches from the trunk; cut about one-quarter of the way through.
  2. Through the limb from the top, starting about 1 inch beyond the first cut. (The weight of the branch may cause it to snap off before the cut is complete.)
  3. Completely through the short remaining stub from top to bottom just beyond the swollen branch collar. (Support the stub while sawing to make a clean cut.)

Remove fast-growing stems, called suckers, that grow up from the roots or the base of the trunk as they appear, as well as the extravigorous (and often weakly attached) shoots, called watersprouts, that grow straight up from the trunk or branches.

Mature trees require only occasional pruning to maintain their structure and appearance. Never make the mistake of cutting off the top of a tree’s canopy to reduce its size. Topping typically leaves the tree much less attractive and much more prone to weak growth and pests.

Pruning Conifers

Needle-leafed evergreens fall into two basic groups: random branching and whorled branching. Each requires a different pruning technique.

Evergreens with random-branching patterns — arborvitae, hemlock, juniper, and yew — should be pruned in the same manner as a flowering tree or shrub. Use heading cuts to encourage dense growth and thinning cuts made close to the trunk to maintain the tree’s shape. One important difference: Heading cuts will only sprout new branches if the remaining branch still has needles growing on it.

Whorled-branching evergreens — fir, spruce, and pine — are quite different. These plants have pale growth buds, called candles, that develop at the branch tips in the spring. Instead of making heading cuts, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off the new, light-colored growths while they’re still soft.

This will maintain plant size and produce denser growth. You won’t want to make thinning cuts to whorled-branching evergreens — they will produce a dead snag, not new growth. The only exception is spruce trees: They have side buds that will sprout if trimmed back to the previous year’s growth.

Pruning Flowering Shrubs

Heading cuts remove only part of a shoot or limb and encourage side branching and dense growth. The cut should be made just beyond a healthy bud, angled at 45 degrees and facing away from the bud. Note that new shoots will grow in the direction the bud is pointing.Susan Carlson

Young shrubs should be pruned lightly to make them grow fuller and bushier. With hand pruners, trim long, unbranched stems by cutting just above a healthy bud. This type of pruning, called heading, encourages lower side branches to develop and enhances the shrub's natural form. When selecting a bud tip to trim to, keep in mind that the new branch will grow out in the direction of the bud. Like most pruning, heading cuts should be timed to avoid disrupting the plant's flowering.

As a shrub develops, thin out old, weak, rubbing, or wayward branches where they merge with another branch. This opens up the middle of the plant to more sunlight, which keeps interior branches healthy, stimulates growth, and increases flowering.

Thinning cuts remove an entire branch where it meets another limb, the main stem, or the ground. They should be made as close to this junction as possible. These cuts help maintain the plant’s natural shape, limit its size, and open up the interior branches to light and air.Susan Carlson

Older and Neglected Shrubs

Older shrubs that have become a tangle of unproductive stems may require a more extensive program of thinning cuts, called renewal or renovation pruning, that takes at least three years. On shrubs with multiple stems that grow up from the base, like lilac, viburnum, forsythia, and dogwood, gradually remove all of the old stems while leaving the new, flower-producing growth untouched. Eventually, the new flower-producing stems will completely replace the lackluster old growth.

Neglected shrubs may call for a more drastic approach: hard pruning. Most deciduous shrubs that respond well to renewal pruning can also take hard pruning, as will a handful of broadleaf evergreens, such as privet. Using loppers and a pruning saw, cut back all stems to within an inch of the ground during the plant's winter dormancy. (For more on the correct tools to use, see Choosing and Using Pruners and Loppers) Come spring, the plants will quickly produce new shoots from the base. Of course, this technique will leave you with little to look at while waiting for the new growth.

When to Prune

There is important pruning that can be done anytime — namely, the removal of dead, weak, damaged, or crossing branches. But poorly timed pruning, like that done in the fall or early winter, can injure a plant and stunt or even eliminate its foliage and flower production. What follows are the three recommended pruning "seasons" for various common trees and shrubs across the country. Stick to this schedule to keep plants healthy and maximize blossoms. When in doubt, Roger Cook suggests, postpone pruning until right after the plant flowers.

Late Winter/Early Spring

Prune summer-flowering plants, which will flower on the coming season's new growth, while they are still dormant. Their bare limbs make it easy to see the plant's structure, and the flush of spring growth will quickly heal wounds. Prune random-branching conifers once new growth is visible.

Shrubs

  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa species)
  • Bumald spiraea (Spiraea bumalda)
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
  • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica)
  • Nandina (Nandina domestica)
  • Privet (Ligistrum species)
  • Repeat-flowering roses (Rosa species)
  • Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • Summersweet (Clethra species)
  • Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Late Winter/Early Spring (cont.)

Trees

Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

  • Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia species)
  • Sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans)
  • Golden-rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
  • Sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana)
  • Random-branching conifers
  • Arborvitae (Thuja species)
  • Cypress (Cupressus species)
  • Hemlock (Tsuga species)
  • Juniper (Juniperus species)
  • Southern yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus)
  • True cedar (Cedrus species)
  • Yew (Cephalotaxus and Taxus species)

Late Spring/Early Summer

Prune spring-flowering plants immediately after their blossoms fade. Because they produce flowers only on old growth from the previous season, pruning soon after bloom will maximize flower production the next year. Pinch the candles on whorled-branching conifers when you see new growth.

Shrubs

  • Azalea (Rhododendron species)
  • Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
  • Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Bridal wreath spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia)
  • Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Deutzia (Deutzia species)
  • Flowering quince (Chaenomeles species)
  • Forsythia (Forsythia species)
  • Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica)
  • Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica)
  • Mock orange (Philadelphus species)
  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
  • Weigela (Weigela florida)

Late Spring/Early Summer (cont.)

Trees

  • Flowering almond (Prunus species)
  • Flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata)
  • Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
  • Ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Redbud (Cercis species)
  • Saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)
  • Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
  • Witch hazel (Hamamelis species)
  • Whorled-branching Conifers Fir (Abies species)
  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
  • Pine (Pinus species)
  • Spruce (Picea species)

Midsummer

Prune "bleeding" trees — those with exceptionally heavy spring sap flow — after their leaves have fully developed.

  • Birch (Betula species)
  • Dogwood (Cornus species)
  • Elm (Ulmus species)
  • Maple (Acer species)
  • Yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea)

Resources

Our thanks to:
Deborah Brown, University of Minnesota Extension horticulturist

Landscape Contractor:
Roger Cook
K & R Tree and Landscape
Burlington, MA
781-272-6104

For more information:
The Pruning Book by Lee Reich
Taunton Press
Newtown, CT
800-477-8727
www.taunton.com

How To Trim Tree Branches Yourself (A Step-By-Step Pruning Guide)

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Pruning trees helps to keep them healthy, shapely, safe, and growing their best. Don’t worry, it’s not that hard. In this post, I am going to show you exactly when and how to trim tree branches yourself, step-by-step.


Trimming trees is always a scary topic for newbies (I know it was for me!). In most cases you can easily do it yourself, without worrying about hiring an expensive professional.

 

There are some proper techniques you need to follow in order to avoid damaging your tree. But I am going to make this easy for you, and walk you through everything you need to know about how to trim a tree yourself, step-by-step.

Table of Contents

Pruning Trees Yourself

Before you get out your tools, it’s a good idea to do a quick online search to look up how to prune the specific type of tree you have to make sure there aren’t any special techniques for it.

Some types (like fruit or flowering trees) prefer to be pruned after they are done blooming, or at other times of the year. Also, most types of evergreens don’t need to be trimmed, except to remove dead or undesirable growth.

Planning to trim my tree in the front yard

Why Prune Trees?

There are several reasons to prune trees, and it’s a good idea to make it a regular habit in order to keep them growing their best.

The first time most people think about trimming trees is usually after a storm causes damage, when the lower branches are getting in the way, or when they are posing a hazard of some kind.

Other reasons could be to encourage flowers and fruit production, to trigger new growth, to help prevent disease by allowing better airflow, or simply to shape the tree to make it look nicer.

Pruning tree branches makes mowing easier

When To Prune Trees

The ideal time of year to prune trees is during dormancy. So, in general, the best time would be sometime during the winter.

Removing branches during dormancy lowers the risk of disease and pest infestations in the open cut wounds. Pruning before spring also helps to promote healthy and vigorous new growth.

In harsh climates like mine here in Minnesota, it’s best to wait until the coldest winter weather has passed.

So for us, the best time is during the late winter or early spring. In milder climates, you can trim a tree anytime during the winter while it is dormant.

Don’t worry, you can still cut off dead or damaged branches at any time of the year. Just try to avoid doing it on wet, rainy days, or when it’s super humid outside.

Tree Trimming Tools

When it comes to trimming trees, using quality tools is super important. You should always make sure your tools are sharp and clean before you make any cuts.

Dull tools will only damage your trees, and dirty blades could spread disease to the open wounds. Here are the tools I use…

  • Pole saw attachment for my trimmer
  • Loppers
  • Hand pruners
  • Safety glasses

My tree pruning tools

Proper Tree Pruning Techniques

Improper pruning can lead to disease or pest problems. So before you start, it’s important to understand exactly how to trim a tree.

When branches are removed properly, the wounds will callus over making a nice thick circle all the way around the cut.

It’s important for the callus to form correctly in order to protect the tree from problems down the road, like rot caused by water pooling in the wound.

Healthy callus after correctly trimming a tree branch

Here are tips for how to trim tree branches properly…

1. Locate the branch collar before cutting – Once you decide which limb you’re going to remove, the first thing to do is locate the branch collar.

This is the area where the branch is coming out of the tree. It’s easier to see on some than it is on others – but look for a ridge, a circle, or an area where the bark is thicker.

It’s important to make the cut on the outside of the branch collar, so the wound can heal properly. Also, be sure not to damage the branch collar, or it won’t be able to form a good callus (which can cause rotting later on).

Locate the branch collar before cutting off tree branch

2. Make your cuts at a downward angle – As you trim the tree, it’s important to make your cuts at a downward angle.

This is so that water can’t settle into the wound. If water gets into the wound consistently, it could eventually cause rotting.

Branch collar damaged during improper tree branch removal

3. Never trim branches that are growing upward – When you’re first learning how to trim a tree, a common mistake is to remove the branches that are growing straight up.

But if you prune those, it will leave a wound where water can easily settle, which can cause the tree to rot over time.

Never trim tree branches that are pointing up

4. Don’t prune a branch too long – You should also take care that you’re not leaving too long of a stub when removing the branches.

Leaving too long of a stub will also make it difficult for the tree to form a proper callus around the wound.

Related Post: How To Cut Grass Like A Pro Using Lawn Mowing Patterns & Techniques

Unhealthy callus after improper tree branch removal

How To Trim A Tree Step-By-Step

Now that you know the proper techniques for how to trim a tree, let’s talk about the steps to follow while pruning them.

But a word of caution before getting started. Never, never try pruning your own trees if they are anywhere near power lines. It’s best to just let the pros handle that!

Here’s a quick list of the steps, and then the more detailed steps are below.

  1. Trim off any suckers growing at the base of the trunk
  2. Remove all the dead or dying branches
  3. Prune out unwanted or hazardous branches
  4. Remove any damaged or weak branches
  5. Trim out overlapping branches that rub together

Step 1: Pruning suckers – Suckers are weak, weedy looking growth that forms at the base of the trunk.

These suckers will never become desirable branches, and only steal energy from the tree. So, be sure to get rid of any suckers as you see them forming.

Step 2: Remove dead or dying branches – Cutting off the dead branches is the best place to start, and will make the rest of the steps easier too.

Once you have removed all of the dead branches, it’s easier to see what you’re working with, and spot the ones that need to be pruned next.

Removing tree branches that are dead or damaged

Step 3: Prune out unwanted or hazardous branches – Branches that are hanging low, touching your house, or are causing some kind of a safety hazard can be trimmed next.

Most of the time the goal here is just to raise the height of the canopy, or get rid of an obstruction. This can usually be done by trimming small branches, rather than removing an entire limb.

Step 4: Remove damaged and weak branches – Tree branches that have been damaged in a storm, or are otherwise broken or weakened should be cut off even if they are still alive.

They are an invitation for pests and disease, could become hazardous, and can also be a place where water settles.

Trim tree branches that are hanging down

Step 5: Trim out crossing branches – Now that you’ve got most of the tree cleaned up, it’ll be easy to spot branches that are overlapping and rubbing against each other. When they rub together, they can damage each other over time.

Remove both branches if they are both damaged. Otherwise either cut off the damaged one, or the smallest of the two.

More Tree Trimming Advice & Pruning Tips

  • As you’re just learning how to a trim tree yourself, the best thing to do is to start small, and work your way into it slowly. Don’t overdo it! Start with one or two of the steps above, and then wait until next year for the rest.
  • Be careful when removing large limbs. This can be risky to the health of a tree. It’s best to leave them unless there’s a good reason to get rid of them, like if they are dead, damaged, diseased, or causing some kind of hazard.
  • As you’re pruning, remember to take a step back now and then to look at the tree from all angles, and check the shape. It’s easy to get carried away with cutting branches, only to realize the tree looks lopsided after you step out from underneath it.
  • Never trim off more that 1/4 of the living tree branches at one time. If you need to remove more than that, do some of it this year, and then wait to do the rest over the next few years.

FAQs

Below I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about trimming trees. If you can’t find your answer here, then ask it in the comments below.

Can you kill a tree by cutting branches?

Yes, you can kill a tree by over pruning it. It’s best to start small, and only remove a few branches at a time. Then every year, continue working on it until you reach the desired shape.

Also, don’t cut off any large limbs unless they are dead or severely damaged. Cutting off large limbs could end up killing the tree.

Does pruning hurt trees?

If done properly, pruning does not hurt the tree, it’s actually quite beneficial. But, if you’ve never done it before, it’s best to start small, and work your way into it. You don’t want to go overboard, and cut off too many branches.

If you’re nervous that you’ll overdo it, just start by getting rid of any dead or damaged branches this year. Then wait until next year to remove any others that need to be trimmed.

Now that you understand how to trim tree branches yourself, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of doing it on a regular basis. That way, your trees will be healthy, safe, and looking their best!

More Garden Pruning Guides

  • Pruning Plants: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide
  • Pruning Russian Sage: Step-By-Step Instructions
  • How To Prune & Trim Roses: A Step-By-Step Guide

Share your tips for how to trim trees in the comments section below!


when possible, how to do it right, why prune fruit trees

  • Main page
  • garden care
  • Journal of Horticulture
  • When to prune fruit trees

Pruning fruit trees is one of the most important garden maintenance tasks. For its correct implementation, you must adhere to certain rules. It is important, for example, to clearly understand how to prune branches and whether pruning should be done in summer and autumn. The procedure will pay off if it is performed regularly at the most appropriate time. When to prune trees in the garden, how to do it correctly, why do you need pruning of fruit plants?

Why are trees pruned in the garden?

What is the purpose of pruning trees in the garden? This is necessary in order to:

  • make harvesting easier;
  • create favorable conditions for flowering and fruiting. Pruning promotes the emergence of new young stems and, as a result, an increase in yield;
  • allow more sunlight and air to enter the canopy: a small bird should be able to fly through the center of the tree. Improved air movement prevents pests and diseases, and more light contributes to uniform ripening;
  • remove dead and diseased branches and stems, thereby rejuvenating trees.
  • give the plant the desired shape.

Spring pruning

Spring pruning of fruit crops is considered the most expedient and useful for the garden. It is important not to overdo it, because excessive zeal can lead to the fact that the tree will weaken or even die, not to mention a decrease in yield. It should be remembered, for example, that 30-40 leaves of an apple tree provide the conditions for the ripening of just one fruit.

Terms of procedure . Spring pruning will benefit the tree if done at the optimum time. When is the best time to start this procedure? If you start it too early, when temperatures are still low, the fruit crop may suffer from frost. If, however, tighten with pruning before the start of sap flow, then after it is carried out, the places of cuts will “heal” for a long time. The most suitable weather for pruning trees in the garden is clear, slightly frosty, with a temperature not lower than -5 ° C. For central Russia, this is usually the period from mid-March to mid-April.

How to prepare inventory . In addition to meeting the deadlines, there are other important nuances that determine how productive the spring pruning of young and fairly old trees in the garden will be. To carry out the procedure, you must first have the appropriate inventory, which, among other things, must be properly prepared. The tools you plan to use for pruning should be sharpened and sanitized. This is done in order not to cause unnecessary injuries and damage to the trees, as well as not to infect fruit crops. Sharpening the tool will be better if, before performing it, lower the cutting parts for some time in a salt solution (1 tablespoon per 1 glass of water).

Special considerations for pruning young plants . Pruning of young trees should be carried out carefully, avoiding excessive removal of branches and shoots. If the plant is still infertile, it is enough to rid it of diseased, damaged, thickening crown or hindering the growth of skeletal branches of shoots, as well as to shorten annual growths. If you need to remove the shoot completely, it is cut into a ring, leaving no stumps. In order not to damage the bark, when cutting a thick branch, first make a notch from the underside and then saw it off completely with a hacksaw from above. Remove excess branches carefully so as not to damage the kidneys with a cutting tool. When shortening to a kidney, the secateurs are started from the side of the neighboring branch, placing it at an angle of 45 ° 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, the second blade 1–2 mm higher.

Branches to be removed

Branches to be removed from the fruit tree:

  • withered, sick and broken. Shoots affected by pests or diseases are best removed immediately, along with areas where fungi have appeared, such as, for example, a tinder fungus. Old fractures need to be treated. To do this, remove the broken branch by pruning for translation, level the cut surface and “apply a bandage” from garden pitch or other compositions;
  • the weakest of the two growing side by side and moving in the same direction. If the branches are the same and there is a need to keep both, they are redirected by breeding in different directions;
  • representing the basal branch, as well as shoots growing below the grafting site. The root branch must be removed before the tree becomes multi-stemmed;
  • intersecting, rubbing against each other, growing inside the crown;
  • which may pose a threat to property and human health.

Methods for pruning fruit trees

Two main methods are used for pruning fruit trees: pruning (shortening) and cutting (removing). When pruning, it should be borne in mind that the stronger the shortening, the more branching will be next year. If the tree tends to branch heavily, it is better to cut the branches entirely. If a short pruning is performed (about a third of the length of the branch), few shoots will appear at the top. With strong pruning (when a third of the branch remains), more powerful shoots will grow, which will diverge in different directions. Increments up to 40 cm long are usually not shortened. But if you want to activate growth, make a fairly strong pruning. Some fruit crops are characterized by low bud awakening. That is, annual growths are long, but branching occurs only in the upper part. In this case, a strong shortening stimulates branching and makes the crown more compact.

Types of pruning

Pruning of fruit trees can be:

  • sanitary, when cutting (removal) of branches affected by pests and diseases;
  • supporting or regulating, performed to limit the size of the plant (when individual branches are shortened or cut). This procedure allows you to prevent thickening of the crown, maintain the ability of the culture to regularly bear fruit, thin out flowers and ovaries;
  • forming. This is, in fact, the creation of decorative forms from trees on dwarf rootstocks using a frame and by repeated pruning;
  • anti-aging, which allows you to restore the ability to grow by significantly shortening the branches in areas with the optimal length of annual growth;
  • restorative, in the form of rejuvenation of old plants, restoring the ability to bear fruit, reducing the height of a tree, forming a crown or part of it from tops.

Is pruning done in summer and autumn

Beginning gardeners often have questions: Should garden trees be pruned in summer and autumn? Such pruning is quite acceptable, it all depends on the goals pursued. Often, gardeners prune plants during these seasons.

Summer . With the onset of the summer months, the growth of garden trees slows down. The supply of nutrients is used up and the plant begins to restore them through photosynthesis. Part of the generated energy is used to feed the summer growth, part goes into the roots to form a reserve for the next year. The lack of energy reserves at this time of the year can be used, for example, to reduce the size of an oversized tree. That is, if you carried out the main pruning in the spring, then in the summer you can cut the tips of young growths if you need to limit their growth. But spring is more suitable for removing large branches.

Autumn . In order not to harm the trees with autumn pruning, it should be remembered that whenever you cut a branch, for example, apple or pear trees, you leave a wound on the body of the plant. This is not a problem during the growing season, i.e. in the spring: after a few days, the wound will be covered with a layer of protective cells. In autumn, growth slows down and healing may not occur. That. autumn is not the best time for cutting branches on fruit crops, but this is practiced in the southern regions. Autumn pruning, which usually occurs after the end of leaf fall, is shaping, rejuvenating or restorative.

What a gardener will need for work

Pruning should be done in comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement and does not cling to branches. It is also better to wear special shoes with non-slip soles, a hat with a visor, gardening gloves and goggles. To carry out the work, a stepladder or other support may be required. Getting started, you need to make sure that the ladder is level and stable. It is better if you have an assistant when cutting trees at a height.

Conclusion

Thus, pruning garden trees helps not only form the crown of plants, but also stimulate fruiting. To control these processes, it is important to use the right techniques and prune branches at the most appropriate time of the year. It is more convenient to cut fruit crops with modern garden equipment and suitable tools at hand. The GARDENA range offers a wide range of tools for pruning fruit trees in the garden, including secateurs, loppers, pruners, garden saws and more.

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How to prune fruit trees: tips for beginners

Pruning fruit trees and shrubs is one of the most important annual operations, without which no plant can grow normally, develop and produce full yields.

It is necessary to prune fruit trees in order to properly form their crown, to prevent its thickening, which interferes with the access of light and oxygen to the branches and leads to the emergence of diseases and pests.

Without pruning, the yield of both stone and pome plants drops sharply, the fruits become small and tasteless.

There are different types of pruning, some of them are too difficult for a beginner gardener, and not always necessary. In this article, we will show you how to prune fruit trees with the least amount of effort and using the simplest tool that everyone has.

We have already talked about how to prune fruit trees in our articles: How to care for cherries, How to care for pears, Frost-resistant cherries, How to grow plums.

HOW TO CUT FRUIT TREES AFTER PLANTING

Pruning of young plantings begins at the age of three. It is necessary for a tree to form a crown correctly and quickly. Such a formation has been carried out for several years. And here it is important not to make mistakes, since an incorrectly formed crown will be very difficult to correct in the future.

The main thing is to correctly create the frame of the future tree. As a rule, two types of pruning are used in amateur gardens: sparsely-tiered and non-tiered. The first is the simplest and most accessible for any novice gardener. It is equally good for both stone fruit and pome crops.

In the first two years, fruit trees mainly grow the root system, and the growth of the aerial part is rather small. In the third year, the intensive growth of the tree itself begins, and if you do not start shaping it, then it will turn into a long thick “whip” with weak side branches.

Pruning of young fruit trees starts from the central conductor. It is shortened to a height of 75 cm, leaving up to 10 buds on it, from which new shoots and side branches will form. Thus, the first tier is laid.

The following spring, damaged and weak branches are removed, leaving the 3 strongest. This will be the second tier. In subsequent years, the third, fourth and fifth tiers are formed in the same way.

When the tree reaches a height of four meters, cut the center conductor above the top branch to stop the growth of the tree, otherwise it will be quite difficult to care for it. Your crown has been formed.

HOW TO TRIM Mature FRUIT TREES

Annual pruning of fruit trees promotes the formation of new shoots, increases the number of flower buds, relieves the crown of the tree from thickening, improves the taste of the fruit, increases yield, limits the growth of the tree and facilitates its care.

This operation is carried out in the spring - in late March - early April, before the start of bud break.

Pruning mature plants differs significantly from shaping a young tree. As a rule, it is limited to two operations: shortening and thinning.

Shorten branches to encourage shoots and buds to grow. A cut on annual branches must be made above the bud, and on a long-term one - above one of the branches.

This operation promotes the rapid growth of shoots below the cut. These young shoots will quickly begin to grow fruit twigs.

Thinning is necessary to improve access to sunlight and air circulation inside the canopy. This contributes to the formation of large, even fruits and prevents the appearance of diseases and pests.

During thinning, cut out all branches growing inside the crown or at an acute angle to the trunk. The latter can cause winter breaks in the tree.

Before pruning, all broken, withered and weak branches are removed, and then they begin the main work.

You can prolong the life of old trees with rejuvenating pruning. It is made for trees older than 18 years. The easiest way to rejuvenate is to shorten all branches by 2/3 of the length.

FRUIT TREE PUTTER

For pruning, you will need a short-handled pruner, a long-handled pruner for trimming the tops of the trees and a sickle-shaped garden saw, as well as a garden pitch for covering the wounds on the trees.


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