Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pruning Window

The window for tree pruning is rapidly closing.  This weekend my husband and I completed pruning on our fruit trees (3 peaches, 1 enormous apple, 2 pears and 3 huge figs).  Fruit trees can take a lot more pruning than other trees and should be pruned fairly "hard" each season.  The general rules are this: first, remove suckers and waterspouts.  Suckers are straight stems coming up from the base of a tree and waterspouts are (non-productive) stems coming up from branches, usually where previous pruning has occurred.  Next, prune off damaged or dead branches and crossing branches.  Then, of what is left, prune the tree to meet these objectives:
1. Open up the interior of the tree to allow in air and sunlight (this reduces the spread of disease);
2. Remove branches that are too high for you to easily pick from;
3. Remove branches that interfere with getting to other branches, again for ease of harvesting and:
4. Remove branches to keep the tree size in check.
Once the tree breaks dormancy (early March for us for fruit trees, except for figs), it is considered to be too late for major pruning, though minor pruning can still be done at this time.
Next up for us is to spray the trees with dormant oil (I am a little late on this too) and liquid copper on the pears to control fire blight. 

We have some ornamental trees to prune too, but some birds will nesting soon and that will close the ornamental pruning window!

Happy gardening!
P.S. Be  kind to your crape myrtles and don't hack them (see my entries on crape myrtle)!  Just give them a light shearing!

1 comment:

Tree Removal Brooklyn said...

I've never had the chance to prune an Apple Tree, but from what I've heard they can be extremely difficult!! I hope it was nothing dexterity draining!

-Samudaworth Tree Service