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How to Prune Dwarf Fruit Trees

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

To prune dwarf fruit trees, trim back about one-third of the growth each year during the dormant period and make angled cuts 2 inches out from the trunk to avoid damage or rotting. Keep a dwarf fruit tree properly pruned to encourage fruit production with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.


Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to prune dwarf fruit trees. Well pretty much any type of fruit tree has different varieties that are dwarf and it's just a smaller variety of the same tree that gets really big. But you should still prune it because by pruning it then you're going to make it produce even better fruit and it'll grow much longer and produce more fruit for more years. And there's some simple rules you should follow when you're pruning your fruit tree. And if it's a dwarf tree you might not make as long of a cut and it might not be as large as a plant but there's still some rules that you should follow. So when you're pruning any kind of fruit tree, the goal is to cutout a lot of the random branches towards the top of the tree because those are usually the more fruity branches that's going to produce the more fruit and you want to thin it out about one third the size each year. And that way it won't just get tall and lanky and it'll fill up and you'll get a lot more fruit quicker. And so just by cutting out see the lighter colored branches, you can get a lot more fruit and you just trim them out and even it out. So there's more sun that gets into the middle branches and the tree will do much better. If you have a fruit tree that's been established and it's really tall and not producing fruit and you have not pruned it very much, then you can actually cut out some of the top branches and what you're making is called a vase cut. By doing that you're forcing most of the growth back down to the bottom part of the tree and you'll get a lot more fruit for the next year. So when you're pruning any type of a tree, you want to be really careful to cut it at the right angle. For example if it's a large branch, you want to to cut first at one side and then the other side and then you're cutting that whole heavy branch off because if you cut from one angle it might actually hurt some of the bark and get into the main trunk and you never want to hurt the main trunk because you will lose a tree if it gets too damaged. And you don't want to cut it too far out either where the C D cut is because what happens is then it gets too much moisture and it will rot and there's too much dead material. You want to cut it right at a little bit of an angle leaving one to two inches right at where the tree is reading with the main trunk. Same thing, you never want to cut right up to the trunk line and make a solid cut because what happens is the tree gets very damaged and sometimes it will eventually kill the tree because it doesn't have bark to protect the main trunk and that is what's needed. By pruning your fruit trees each year when they're dormant after the last of the fruit is finished, you can actually thin out the tree a bit so it gets more sunlight and you'll get even more fruit the next year.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.