The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

More on pruning fruit trees in winter

Erik provides a step-by-step approach to getting pruning right whenever you do it

Last week I mentioned it wasn’t too early to start pruning fruit trees. Since then, it has been so mild, could you ever imagine.

Yes, it is time we could start pruning, but there are no rush.

Before starting to prune, you need to answer two questions.

One, are you pruning a mature tree (one that has reached the size you want)?

Two, is it a smaller tree, you want to grow larger?

If you’re pruning a mature tree, that might not been pruned for some time, here are the rules:

Anything you can cut off with a pair of pruning shears is OK.

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Anything you have to prune that is thicker than one inch, only remove one third of those branches each year, over three years. If you do, the tree will send out a lot of water shoots.

You also need to know the small buds are leaf buds, the big ones are flower buds.

Another important thing about pruning is always keep the centre of the tree open.

Next, you will prune the ends of the branches, which is last year’s growth.

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Many people support too weak branches with a piece of lumber. That’s OK, but not necessarily the best option. To avoid this, don’t allow any branches to grow any further than you’re sure it can carry the fruits.

If this is what has happened, prune that branch back to a flower bud. So, in order for the maximum of fruit to grow on the tree, you need to cut off last year’s grow, it will be all leaf buds.

If you want it to grow larger, you will cut that piece back to one-third length. The leaf buds you leave will turn into flower buds next year.

By doing it this way, you will end up with branches covered with clusters of flower buds.

A final thought. If you’re in doubt, don’t make the cut. You can always do it right later on, rather than having to use Crazy Glue to get it back on.

If you have any questions, email me at

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