How to Prune a Fruit Tree


Pruning fruit trees is necessary to encourage fruit production, shape the trees and help them live longer. You can create a strong framework for future growth with a little patience and the correct tools.

Step 1

Obtain the proper equipment to cut the tree correctly: pruning scissors for twigs and suckers, a lopper for medium-sized branches and a pruning saw for large branches.

Step 2

Prune the roots and the tops of the trees when you plant them to begin training the shape.

Step 3

Pick out the three or four strongest branches on the fruit tree to form the canopy. Prune away all the others, including any attached to the main trunk at a narrow angle.

Step 4

Prune fruit trees once a year in the dormant season so each main branch produces enough stems that will provide an abundance of leaves and fruit blossoms. Prune away any dead, broken or diseased branches.

Step 5

Cut back any flowers or fruit produced during the first two growing seasons to provide maximum fruit production in the future. Leave the flowers on in the third year and let a few fruits ripen.

Step 6

Thin out the branches if necessary during the dormant season by cutting back crowded areas in the top of the fruit tree. This will let in more sunlight and improve air circulation for a healthier, more abundant crop.

Step 7

Use pruning shears or scissors to cut away any shoots or suckers that grow from the bottom 3 feet of the fruit tree, or up from the roots, once it is mature.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning scissors
  • Lopper
  • Pruning saw
  • Ladder
  • Gardening gloves


  • Growing Fruit Trees
  • Pruning Popular Fruit Trees
  • Video: Pruning Fruit Trees
Keywords: trimming trees, growing fruit trees, pruning fruit trees

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.