Pruning for Fruit Tree Health

February 24th, 2014


Image courtesy of New Mexico State University

Left untrimmed, a fruit tree will grow to a large size, making harvesting difficult, due to the height and overall size of the tree. A pruned tree is left with a smaller area and fewer branches to bear fruit, making harvesting a more manageable process. 

They say size doesn’t matter, but after peeling dozens of small apples, you may disagree. This is another example why pruning is so important for fruit trees. With a fewer space to bear fruit, the size of the fruit tends to be larger and branches stronger to support it.

Another important reason for pruning this season is to encourage more airflow and sunlight through the inner branches. Fruit trees need lots of sunlight to reach all their branches and abundant airflow to mitigate the growth of fungal diseases that affect both the fruit and foliage.

We’ll soon be closing in on the best time of year to prune fruit trees. The reason for this is  because climatologically speaking, the harshest part of winter is behind us, but the trees are still dormant before bursting full of life once spring arrives.

Generally speaking, pruning tasks should be finished up before leaves appear on the trees in the spring. It’s best to not do it in late fall or early winter, due to potential damage to the tree caused by intense cold in the winter months.

If you have fruit trees in your yard and are curious to learn more about how to prune them, there is a fantastic learning opportunity coming up at the GreenUP Ecology Park.

On Saturday March 1st you’re invited to join urban fruit tree advocates, Andy Harjula and Marcy Adzich, for an informative early season, outdoor workshop at the park. Andy will go over the basics of pruning, why it’s important and the benefits it can have for your fruit trees. There will even be an opportunity to practice your pruning skills on some the fruit tree stock at the park.

The cost for this workshop is $10, payable the day of the event. All proceeds go towards outdoor education programs at the park. GreenUP Ecology Park is located at 1899 Ashburnham Drive, just beside the Peterborough Utilities parking lot. You are asked to meet at the rain shelter and dress warmly.

For more information and to register, contact Marcy Adzich by email at workshops@www.greenup.on.ca or by phone at 705-745-3238 ext 212.


Posted in gardening, newsletter, Peterborough, trees, Uncategorized