The Q&A Archives: Fruit Tree Pruning

Question: We have peach and apple trees on our newly aquired property, can you give me info on pruning, when and how? The trees already have buds on them and don't appear to have been pruned recently. Do we thin them or lop off the tops of these as i've seen done in orchards?

Answer: Fruit tree pruning is part art and part science and dormant pruning should be done in the winter or very early spring, possibly with additional summer pruning, following a pattern developed early in the life of the tree which may be an open shape or following a central leader. At this point in mid spring you would be best restricted to removing truly dead wood. Neglected trees may require two years or more to be returned to optimum shape and productivity. They generally also require a routine spray schedule, often beginning in midwinter, depending on the variety you have and the disease and insect incidence in your area and on the weather that particular year. Your might want to contact your county extension (394-6851) for suggestions about a basic spray regime and then take a look at some basic pruning information such as that at the following site:

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