If you do anything on the homestead this winter, prune your fruit trees. Mid winter is the time to prune your fruit trees for a healthy, abundant harvest in the summer. I’ll share with you three easy pruning tips and tricks to make that first cut less stressful!
Our orchard only consists at this time of an Italian prune plum tree, a grafted mixed apple tree including transparent and two sad pear trees. To say the least, they are in need of love. I’ve been so excited to prune these overgrown trees this since we bought our property three years ago.
The plan is to plant our orchard very soon, as the sooner it’s planted the sooner we will have endless fruit and I can start really canning and selling my my preserves I just need to decide on the location.
But first, we need to rejuvenate what we have here. The trees hadn’t been pruned in over 20 years and were overgrown, crowded, and just ugly. Thankfully they are still happily producing fruit. We’ve learned heavy branches and overgrown trees attract deer and bears.
After reading several articles online and in my go to gardening books I felt ready to guide my husband in what to prune and what to leave.
Tips for Pruning Fruit Trees
When pruning fruit trees there’s two methods or branch designs you might say that guide your pruning. Those are the ladder style and the basket style. For our trees, we decided the basket was best for our trees. It makes for a better climber and ours were already previously – forever ago- like this. And what kid doesn’t love climbing trees?
With either style, you still want to start with the 3 D’s
Remove the DEAD, DYING and DISEASED branches first. This wasn’t hard after we had a bear get into the apple tree this fall. Which thankfully sparked our need to do this chore.
Once you’ve removed those branches look for your main branches for your design choice and remove those that are new shoots growing straight up. You also want to remove the branches that cross each other. Also remove the branches that grow inwards towards the centre of the tree.
Before Pruning the Plum Tree
Pruning the Plum Tree
This is our plum tree mid pruning. It was so overgrown that we needed the big saw to cut out old suckers.
Here is our final pruned prune plum tree using the methods above. I’m so happy we finally finished this job and can’t wait to see some beautiful foliage and flowers this spring! The seasons always amaze me.
What types of fruit trees do you have on your homestead? Our next big task is planting more trees and I’d love to hear your suggestions.