Here are a couple of videos that I hope will give beginners a bit of pruning confidence. Thanks to my buddy Ray at Soulhaven Productions for making them and thanks to Barry for letting us film his trees!
These fruit tree pruning videos won’t answer all your questions, not by a long shot. But they will, I hope, encourage you to trust yourself and have a go. Every year you’ll be a little bit wiser. You got this, my friends.
Step One: The Shape
Start by taking a good look at your trees and noticing their natural shape. For more detail about vase and single leader shapes check this post out.
Step Two: The Framework
Begin with the framework – loppers and saw in hand. It’s amazing the difference removing one whole branch makes – often times this is all that’s needed.
If your fruit trees are big wild crazy things, don’t prune them back to a classic shape all in one go. The harder you prune this year, the harder they’ll shoot next year. Keep growth steady by only removing about a third of the canopy. Stack the prunings beside you as you go for a clear visual of this.
Pick one branch to remove. Choose the big branch that’s cluttering up the middle or the tallest branch and remove it right back at the trunk. Stand back and decide whether or not to go for another. Something is better than nothing. And less is better that more 🙂
If your trees are newbies, here’s how to prune new fruit trees.
Step Three: The Branches
Finish with the branches. Go methodically along each one
- removing clutter to let in light
- shortening overly long laterals
- thinning out wood that’s gotten too big for renewal shoots
- and head the end back to where you want it.
Remember to admire all the fruit buds as you go. They’ve grown just for you.