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If you have a heavily overgrown tree, spread the pruning process over a period of three years. Removing too many branches at once will result in an unproductive tangle of suckers and water sprouts. Follow the rule of thumb that you can remove a third of the live wood each year.
First, cut out and burn all dead, damaged, diseased, and insect-infected branches. Then gradually thin the healthy wood, removing all vertical growth-like water sprouts, branches that grow toward the center of the tree, and branches with weak, narrow crotch angles (less than 35%). Encourage horizontal branches, since they are the most fruitful, and prune more heavily in the top of the tree so that sunlight reaches the lower limbs.
Source: Rodale's Book Of Hints, Tips, and Everyday Wisdom
By one.of.a.kind from AL
Productive fruit trees with an abundance of high quality fruit don't just happen. They result from good cultural practices, including pruning. Pruning is often neglected either due to a lack of pruning skills and knowledge or a fear that one is going to injure or kill the tree.
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Published by: Nebraska Cooperative Extension
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
When is the best time to prune fruit trees?
By Jess from Hillsboro, OR
This really depends on the type of tree.
We have an apple tree that every year sends out long thin branches from the end of each limb. We tried pruning them, but then had very few apples. What's the problem?
Hardiness Zone: 2a
By Alma Barkman from Winnipeg
Is it self pollinating? Do you have another apple tree? How old is it?
This is a page about pruning cherry trees. Pruning your fruit trees is important for their health and fruit production.