How to Prune Dormant Fruit Trees

Views: 26224 | Last Update: 2009-05-02
Pruning dormant trees involves not pruning too early in the winter, pruning only on dry days to prevent fungal problems and not pruning in the middle of the branch. Pruning can detrimental to a tree if not familiar with the process but problems can be... View Video Transcript

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Jessica Smith

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jessica Smith, I work for Brown's Nursery in West Shorting, Utah, today we're talking all about trees and shrubs. And right now we're going to discuss how to prune a dormant fruit tree. Well, first off, obviously we're not in dormant season right now, but just to kind of give you a visual, we're just going to kind of go through the basics of it. First off, you're probably wondering why you're pruning the dormant season. The reason for this is in the fall, the plant itself, the tree, as it looses its leaves, all that energy and nutrients are stored down in to the trunk and the roots itself, so when you're pruning in the dormant season, all that energy is stored in the plants for it to utilize the next spring. It's also easier when it, when it has no leaves to actually see what it is you're pruning. When you first purchase a fruit tree, you're going to concentrate more on the structure of the tree and rooting the tree, so that your pruning is what's most important those first few years. Don't worry about your fruit production, that will come later on. Now, different types of pruning practices are needed. There's either your central leader practice, where you keep that main leader going up, and then in between that, you space your branches, your scaffold branches all around your tree, and leave about a foot and a half to two feet in between for nice air flow, sunlight, and that. The most common practice of pruning on fruit trees is actually your open center, or your vase shape. This is where the central leader has been taken out, and then on your scaffold branches you've got three to four main ones that come out like a big bowl, and then off of that, your lateral branches run off. When pruning a dormant fruit tree, do not prune too early in the winter, when it's still freezing and that. That can actually cause cold injury to them. What you want to do, is this is late in the winter, early, early in the spring, before they've come out is when you actually want to do your pruning. Prune on dry days, do not prune on wet days, this makes more fungal problems actually suseptalbe to the plant. And always clean your tools after you're done using them with a colorox or rubbing solution with water. When removing a main branch, right here you can notice that there's a little bump from the trunk to the branch itself. You always prune right in front of that. That's called the branch collar. And in that branch collar, the tree actually has a natural chemical in it that after you prune, it comes around and seals it. You don't need those sealing compounds, as long as it's proper pruning practices are taken care of, it's just basically a waste of your money. You don't need those compounds. Do not prune in the middle of the branch right there, leaving a stub. Alls that's going to do is that stub's going to rot out on you and only cause havvock. If your tree's got overgrown and it's an older tree that just has been neglected for many of years, I'd recommend that you actually contact your local certified arborist. Pruning practices, if they're done wrong, can actually be detramental to the tree, so you get someone that knows what they're doing and what they're taking off.