Pruning Fruit Trees

Should you prune now? Apparently not. I found a great article on pruning and read that Fall/ early to mid-Winter is not the time. Best to wait until just before Spring to prevent water and cold damage.

Figure 1. Pruning a central leader tree
Pruning Fruit Trees


At Planting
As the buds begin to swell, head the tree at 30 to 34 inches above the soil surface.




Pruning Fruit Trees


Dormant Pruning
Head the tree at 24 to 30 inches above the highest branch of the first scaffold whorl.



Pruning Fruit Trees


First-Year Summer Pruning
Summer prune when new growth is 3 to 4 inches long. Leave a as the new leader, and remove b and c. Select four uniformly spaced laterals for the first scaffold whorl, and remove the remaining lateral branches.



Pruning Fruit Trees


Top view of tree



Pruning Fruit Trees

After pruning the third year
Three scaffold whorls have been developed with three to four branches uniformly spaced around the tree in each whorl. A light slot of 18 to 24 inches is left between each scaffold whorl. Note the Christmas-tree shape that allows light penetration to the lower branches and interior of the tree.


Steps in Pruning:

Leave only one trunk for the central leader.
Remove branches with crotch angles less than 60 degrees.
Remove all branches directly across from one another on the leader.
Space lateral branches uniformly around the leader to prevent crowding as the limbs grow in diameter.

Click here to read more of the Article from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

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