Edmonton Fruit Tree Pruning Tips
Edmonton has a short growing season but still has a lot of potential for fruit! Mike at Arbor Man Tree Care gets asked this question all the time! You can maximize our short growing season with these Edmonton Fruit Tree Pruning Tips.
Fruit Tree Vs. Normal Tree Pruning
Pruning Fruit trees is different than ordinary trees. Fruit trees have to bear the weight of the fruit they produce. That means we have to make sure the branches are thicker and more robust to carry that weight. Prune the outermost branches of the tree to prevent long and thin branches. Pruning also activates some of the fruit stimulating hormones, which means you will have more fruit.
When Should I Prune my Tree
Fruit trees are a lot like regular trees for time to prune them. Typically, you want to prune a tree when it is dormant, and we want it to undergo as little stress as possible.
What style of tree produces the best fruit?
There are two main types of fruit tree pruning techniques.
- Open center tree – This is a tree that has had its central leader cut and focuses more on the horizontal scaffolding branches. Open Center trees produce more fruit and are easier to gather fruit. The branches receive more light during the growing season. Typically, the first cut to the central leader is done on a young tree. If your tree is older, it may be too late to prune your tree in this fashion.
- Central leader tree – These trees are the types of trees most of us think about when we think about trees. They have a strong central leader, which makes for a taller tree. Commercial orchards use this method to have many trees growing closely together. For your home, though, it will produce a tall, nice looking tree. It may be hard to get the fruit from the higher branches.
Three steps you should follow when pruning your fruit tree
Clean up: Remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood from the tree. Remove any suckers or sprouts coming from the bottom of the tree. Remove all directly vertical spouts going straight up from the main branches. These are called waterspouts.
Thin: Thinning the tree will allow more light and air to enter the canopy. Remove any branches that grow downward, back towards the tree’s center, or are crossing with another branch. The tree will focus its resources on productive branches. You want your tree to have even branches. Remove any branches that are competing for resources. Make sure there is at least 6-12 inches between branches.
What kind of tools do I need?
You only need a few tools to prune any tree:
- Sharp hand pruning shears. These will be your primary tool. Most branches, suckers, or anything on the tree can be cut with sharp hand shears.
- Pruning Saw. This tool is used to make significant cuts on branches too thick to cut with hand shears. Make sure it is sharp, so you do not tear the bark of the tree
- Lopping Shears – These are shears with a long handle. They will allow you to prune larger branches and branches that are higher up. As with all other tools, make sure these are sharp!
For professional consultation on your fruit tree, please contact Mike at Arbor Man Tree Care.