The cold months of winter are upon us here in Camas & Washougal, Washington. And, though the grass has slowed it’s growing, there are a multitude of other landscape tasks that need to be done during this time. One of the most overlooked tasks is pruning; especially pruning fruit trees.
There are many reasons to keep up with the yearly pruning of your fruit trees. One reason is to acquire a desirable size and shape. Pruning done yearly, especially during the early years of a trees life, can ensure that your trees grow strong and develop a well-established structure. Pruning also keeps your trees at a manageable height and maintains a proper branch span as well.
Another reason to prune your fruit trees annually is to develop a good fruit production rate. Fruit growing on branches that are left unchecked can lead to an overabundance of fruit growth. Although an overabundance of fruit sounds delightful, having too many branches and blooms growing on a trees is actually counterproductive. This overabundance of fruit competes for space and light, which will lead to underdeveloped fruit.
One final reason to prune your fruit trees is to thwart off pests and disease. Trimming off disease or pest-ridden parts of the tree discourages disease and pests from spreading to the rest of the tree and fruit. Left unchecked, disease and pests will spread and damage fruit trees quickly.
When to Prune
Fruit tree pruning should only be performed during the times of year that the trees have gone dormant. Pruning trees during their growing period can, potentially, harm your trees and should be avoided at all costs. In Washington State, fruit trees are generally dormant from mid-November to mid-April. During the dormant months, trees generally lose all of their fruit and leaves, making it a lot easier to determine which branches should be pruned away.
How to Prune
Pruning fruit trees is usually done with extendable tree pruners, although it can be performed with a pair of regular pruners and a ladder. Extendable tree pruners allow you to prune trees from the ground, as they have a telescopic handle, which enables you to reach higher up to cut branches.
During the winter months, look for branches that are sticking straight up, branches that are crossing and rubbing on other branches, and also look for any branches that are dead, or infested with pests, fungus or any other type of disease. Once you have determined which are the obvious branches that should be pruned, begin cutting away these branches. Once that is done, determine if there is any overcrowding of branches and thin out the smaller, less established branches.
Pruning fruit trees is, of course, a tedious task that can seem overwhelming. It is always a great idea to contact a professional landscaper to take care of this process for you. Urban Eden Landscaping would love to help get your fruit trees ready for the growing season! If you would like some help with this service, give us a call at (360)567-6399, fill out a free estimate request form, or simply contact us today!