How to prune your fruit tree in 5 easy steps

Fruit trees need frequent proper pruning to reach their full potential.  You’ll want to spend some time once a year, after the fruit finishes and before the new buds appear to give your tree a serious pruning, but don’t let water spouts or crossing branches stay when you find them.

Remember when pruning to step back and circle the fruit tree frequently to see how it looks while you are working.  You want a slighly domed shaped top, and the bottom should look like a steep bowl.

1) Remove water spouts.  Water spouts are branches that grow at 90′ angles to the branch they stem from. They will take all of the nutrients and water away from the rest of the branch if you let them grow.

2) Remove all branches that bend down toward the ground.  Your branches should curve or reach up not down.

3) Remove all branches that cross another branch.  On windy days those crossing branches will rub each other.  This causes breaks in the bark where insects, fungus and bacteria can enter and harm your tree.

4) Thin branches so that sunlight reaches deep into the tree.  Fruit trees especially need lots of sun to grow well and remain healthy.

5) Shape the top just for appearace, cut back to the beginning any branches that stick out too far from the rest.

The branches you remove can be used to propagate new trees.  Cut the branches so that only 3 sets of leaves remain.  Remove the bottom set of leaves.  Dip the bottom of the branch in rooting hormone.  Plant in light soil and keep warm, moist and humid until new growth appears.  Then treat as you would any other young tree.