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