How to Trim Dwarf Fruit Trees

Overview

A dwarf fruit tree can be an excellent choice for your yard or garden for several reasons. First, if you have limited space, a dwarf tree will not overcrowd an area or draw a undue amount of attention to itself. Also, a dwarf fruit tree is simply easier to care for--its limited size makes pruning and harvesting fruit faster and easier. There are two basic reasons to prune a dwarf fruit tree. One is to encourage the tree to grow and produce an abundance of fruit, and the other is to shape the tree for a pleasing look.

Step 1

Trim your tree in late winter or early spring while the tree is still dormant.

Step 2

Remove all dead or diseased wood and remove any wood that shows signs of frost damage.

Step 3

Remove all suckers. Suckers generally grow from the roots or along the lower portion of the trunk. Suckers are branches that are smooth-skinned, without true bark.

Step 4

Remove all branches that are rubbing against each other. Where branches touch, they can rub off bark, which provides an entryway for insects or disease. Cut branches all the way back to the trunk, leaving only the small node or bump on the trunk that the branch grew out of.

Step 5

Remove all branches that cross the tree's canopy or which grow downward. Cut all branches that are too low to the ground for lawnmower clearance.

Step 6

Step back and take a critical look at your tree from an aesthetic perspective. Snip the tips of branches that are throwing your tree off-balance and preventing it from having the shape that you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw

References

  • Dwarf Fruit Trees Advice: Pruning Your Fruit Trees
  • University of California, Davis: Training and Pruning Fruit Trees
  • Weekend Gardener: How to Prune an Apple Tree
Keywords: trim dwarf trees, trimming fruit trees, cutting dwarf trees, pruning dwarf trees, pruning fruit trees

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.