Time to Trim Fruit Trees Now in February

If you haven’t trimmed your fruit trees yet you’re not alone. I haven’t done mine but plan on doing them by this weekend. You should trim soon before the buds swell or you’ll miss your opportunity this spring. Below is picture illustrating where to prune an apple tree.

Picture courtesy of http://www.weekendgardener.net

Last year I trimmed the fruit trees heavily so I shouldn’t have to trim too much this year. I just have to take off the water sprouts and small branches that have crossed and are touching in the interior. I didn’t get ANY fruit last year, not even an apple (and I always get those) because of the bitter cold winter we had.

Different winter this year-much warmer with little bits of snow. Not enough snow to quit watering once a month but certainly enough to help. Hell, any moisture helps out here. One more thing to check off my to-do list.

Fruit Tree Pruning

Unpruned apricot tree with lots of little branches everywhere

It’s just a little orchard I keep telling myself!  I know I’m a little late for pruning but need to prune my fruit trees before they leaf out (which luckily they haven’t yet).  Since I didn’t do them last year I feel compelled to do it this year. Trying to use my ‘how to prune a fruit tree’ skills.  I don’t want them to get out of control!

Pruned apricot tree

Here are pictures of an semi-dwarf apricot tree before and after I pruned it. It desperately needed pruning. Apricots are notorious for putting out lots of tiny branches everywhere so it is best to keep up on them.  Notice how many branches I cleaned out but still kept the basic shape. I also cut the suckers growing at the base of the tree. When pruning fruit trees, we need to consider what type of fruit tree we are pruning. Most fruit trees like apricots, peaches, pears and plums do better with an open vase shape where sunlight can enter into the center of the tree except for apple trees that do best with a central leader.

Prune at an outward growing branch

One thing for sure is don’t top off the tree limbs. That will encourage rampant growth on top. Instead look at where you are pruning the limb and clip the branch where a new branch will grow outward away from the center not into the center of the tree. It took me awhile to see where the proper place is to trim and I’ve not always done well in years past. Some mistakes I can’t rectify like one of my apple trees that I pruned years ago into the vase shape. Still it seems to produce well. Perhaps nature is more forgiving than we think..