No matter which tree you decide to prune and when there are several important conditions that must be met. Otherwise, ill-considered actions can cause more damage to your fruit crop. Whether you are starting with a young tree or want to rejuvenate it as an adult, there are 10 basic rules that you should always follow. You will learn more about 10 Tips for Pruning Trees and Shrubs by Bubgo article.
1. Choose a time to prune
Prune in the fall, when the sap is running out. Prune also in the spring before the buds open (before the sap starts to flow actively). In southern regions, you can also cut in winter.
2. Keep the branches proportional
You have to make a lot of cuts to young seedlings with open root systems. Remember that most of the roots stay in the nursery, so the above-ground part should be proportional to the root system. For seedlings with closed root systems, formative pruning should be done.
3. Do not overgrow the crown
Vertical shoots grow vigorously and the canopy becomes thick and insubstantial. These are the fertile shoots, also known as wolves. Make sure you cut them off from the roots. In this way, you can regulate the amount and size of fruit on the tree.
In a dense canopy, there is usually more fruit, but the fruit is smaller and of poorer quality because it does not get enough light or nutrients. Dense canopies are poorly ventilated, creating conditions for the development of fungal and bacterial diseases, which also result in poor fruit flavor. Sparse canopies have fewer fruits, but they are significantly better quality and larger in size.
4. Keep the branches sheltered
The most productive branches grow almost horizontally at an angle of 60-85°. Branches often break off from the trunk at an acute angle. Therefore, as long as the branches are young and flexible, deflect them or remove them completely. To hold down branches that bend to the ground, tie them to a spike. Do not hang any heavy objects on the branches, this is dangerous and often leads to breakage.
5. Observe the good medium tree pole
Make sure the center pivot point is higher than the side branches. The one that is higher than the others will grow faster. Therefore, if a side branch starts to grow rapidly, the center of gravity will shift and the tree will have a tendency to fall down.
6. Do not over prune
When you shorten a shoot, the dormant buds below the pruned area will become active. The more you prune, the more the buds underneath will wake up and produce more lateral branches and fat buds (spikes). Therefore, the more you prune, the greater the growth will be.
7. Set the direction
When pruning, you can and should point out the direction of future shoots. If you cut a shoot above a branch to the right, a shoot will grow to the right. If you cut at a bud on the left, a new shoot will grow to the left.
8. Do not leave a stump
Stumps and knots left behind when cutting will never heal. They will become an eternal source of fungal and bacterial infection.
9. Remove branches that extend into the interior of the canopy.
Sooner or later, bent branches will encounter others and get in the way. Friction can damage the bark and lead to fungal and bacterial infections. In addition, incorrectly grown branches can thicken the canopy and worsen the microclimate of a tree or shrub.
For example, try not to remove branches that are growing inside the canopy, as well as branches that cross and rub against each other. Besides the fact that such a canopy will have very little light and a lot of water inside it, the bark on such branches will be damaged after 3-4 years. Pathogens will inevitably enter the wood through the wounds and it will be almost impossible to heal the damaged wood.
10. Sharpening gardening tools
Use only sharp, smooth pruning shears, saws, and loppers. Make sure the cuts are straight and even. If the cut is not straight, clean it up. Cracks and burrs will tear the bark off the tree and the wound will be difficult and time-consuming to heal. As a result, the tree or shrub may die.
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