5 Golden Pruning Rules

pruning out the clutter in Hetlina apple tree ediblebackyard nz

Hold light at the fore front as you prune.

Light inspires fresh new shoots, ripens fruits, and where light shines – air flows, which is just what the doctor ordered for best health. Let light be your guide, along with a gentle hand and all will be well.

Less is More

Here’s the thing – every cut you make elicits a response from the tree.
The more you cut, the more trees shoot.
The less you cut, the less they shoot.

When trees are lacking vigour, cut them strongly to inspire strong growth next season. When trees are full of vigour, cut less. Counter intuitive, I know, but this will guide you well and steer you away from trees gone mad, covered in upright spring shoots because you went way too hard with your pruning!

5 golden rules

  1. Prune on a dry day
  2. Assess the frame first – before you cut! Notice where light needs to penetrate. If you are new to pruning it’s helpful to mark limbs for removal with a rag or clothes peg. Notice too where vigour has faded and renewal is required.
  3. Don’t prune off more than a quarter or a third of your tree. There is no expectation that every year, cutting must be done. Every year is different. Some years its just a broken branch and few ends that are removed. Other times a major branch thats lost vigour or clutters the light too much. Stack the pruning’s up as you go to keep it real about how much you’ve pruned off.
  4. Use clean tools. Cleaning your tools with meths or vinegar between each tree is basic hygiene that saves spreading bacteria from tree to tree.
  5. Use sharp tools. Sharp blades slice through wood making a healthy cut with no raggedy edges for bacteria to cling to and are heaps nicer to use.