Winter Pruning: Keeping Your Fruit Trees Healthy

Although it is cold outside, now is a good time to start pruning your fruit trees. They’re dormant. They’re waiting. You might as well bundle up and get it over with.

Pruning will shape a tree into something beautiful with a structure that has integrity to better withstand the effects of wind, snow, and other weather conditions that damage branches. And by removing dead or diseased wood, you will make a tree healthier.

Don’t forget your gloves, by the way.

Above: The first step is to get rid of the clutter. Suckers are thin branches that sprout haphazardly from a trunk or larger support branches; they make a tree look like it has a Sideshow Bob haircut. Use loppers to remove them at their base. Photograph via The Little Ragamuffin.

Above: Remove water sprouts, common on many varieties of fruit trees, by clipping them off close to the trunk. Photograph by Menudujour via Flickr.

Above: Prune older trees first and wait until winter is nearly over before you prune younger, more fragile trees. The harder you prune a tree, the less fruit it will produce next season. Prune older trees lightly and reserve your greater enthusiasm for shaping younger, more malleable trees. Photograph via Eat Well Farm.

Above: There are two general shaping techniques: creating a central leader system and or an open center system. For step-by-step instructions for both, see Happy Gardens.

For more pruning tips, see Gardenista‘s post 5 Favorites: Elegant Espalier in the Winter Garden.

47 comments

Alex R.
.1 years ago

This written piece gives fastidious understanding yet.
shanestrees.com

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Alex R.
.1 years ago

This written piece gives fastidious understanding yet.
shanestrees.com

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Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

Great tips,thanks.

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Shanti S.
S S4 years ago

Thank you.

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Roxane Connor
Roxane Connor4 years ago

Yea, got to get on that this weekend.

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Kate S.
Kate S4 years ago

We have at least a hundred, old and unkempt apple trees...I better get moving on this pruning business before spring gets here! Thanks for the info.

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Bruno Moreira
Bruno Moreira4 years ago

ty

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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W4 years ago

interesting

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Kiku dong
K dong4 years ago

How old does a tree need to be before triming?

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Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

We can do something to prepare for a better future

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