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Tree Pruning and Training


Tree pruning conifers may be done any time of the year but if you do it during their dormant season it can minimize the flow of resin and sap. Tree pruning some of the other trees that do not have showy flowers should also be done while they are dormant so you can easily visualize their structure, maximize wound closure during the growing season, reduce transmitting a disease and also to eliminate excessive sap flow.

If you are trimming a hedge that have flowering shrubs and trees then you should make sure the hedge trimming is done professionally and in the dormant season for the same reasons as above but some may need pruning at different times.

The trees and shrubs that blossom in the early spring such as the redbud, and dogwood should be pruned promptly after flowering. There are many flowering trees that are susceptible to fireblight which is a bacterial disease that can be spread by pruning. These trees which include varieties of hawthorn, crab-apple, pear, flowering quince, mountain ash, and pyracantha should be pruned during their dormant state. Shrubs and trees that flower during summer or fall always should be pruned during the dormant season. Dead branches on any of these trees should be removed any time of the year.

The Pruning of Fruit Trees

There are many growers or gardeners that will often neglect the annual training and the pruning of fruit trees. However, fruit trees will probably not develop the proper shape or form without the training and pruning. The properly trained and pruned fruit trees have a tendency to yield high quality fruit earlier and will live quite a bit longer. The primary objective to training and pruning is the development of a strong framework of the tree that is able to support good fruit production. If fruit trees are improperly trained the angles of their branches will very upright which can cause limb breakage under a heavy load of fruit. This will consequentially reduce the productivity of the tree and reduce its tree life. Another important factor of annual traning and pruning is to eliminate all the dead, diseased and broken limbs.

The proper tree training will also open up the canopy of the tree to allow the maximum amount of light penetration. The majority of deciduous tree fruit, the flower buds for the coming year’s crops are generally formed during the previous year. The penetration of light is very important for the development of buds along with optimal fruit set, quality, and flavor. Even though a mature fruit tree is growing in full sun, a dense canopy probably will not allow enough light to reach eighteen inches inside. By opening up the canopy you will allow adequate movement of air throughout the tree which will allow speedy drying in order to minimize any disease infection and will allow complete penetration of pesticides. Also, a well shaped fruit tree is very pleasing to the eye whether it is in your garden or a landscaped yard.

Historically, the form and structure of fruit trees has been done by pruning. Tree training, on the other hand, is a much more desirable and proficient way to augment the structure and form. Pruning is basically removing portions of a tree to correct its structure; training is a fairly new application where we direct the growth to a desired shape and form. Training fruit trees is very important for proper development. It is better to train the direction of the growth than to correct it by pruning. Pruning for the most part is done in the winter, while training includes summer training and pruning as well pruning in the dormant season. The goal of training is to direct the growth of the tree and to minimize cutting.

Trees will respond differently to dormant pruning and summer pruning. During the fall, the trees energy is generally stored in the trunk and root system in order to support its top section. If we remove a large portion of the tree during the winter, during dormancy, the energy of the tree is not changed. In the spring, the tree will respond by producing several energetic, upright shoots called water sprouts, which will shade the tree and prevent the proper development. Heavy pruning in the dormant season will also cause the same problem.

Dormant tree pruning should begin as late in the season as possible to avoid any winter injury. Pecan and apple trees should be pruned before peach tree pruning, cherry tree pruning and plum tree pruning. A good idea to practice is to prune the early blooming trees last and later blooming trees first. Older trees are best if they are pruned first and because the younger trees have a tendency to winter injury if pruned too early. Summer pruning erases energy of the tree resulting in a reduction of the tree growth. You can begin to prune as soon as buds start growing, but generally it is begun after the growth of the vegetation is several inches long. For the most part, summer pruning should be done only to remove the vigorous and upright growth of the season and only cuts that thin out. To lower the problems of winter injury your summer tree pruning should all be done before the end of July.

About Gary Ater

Gary Ater

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