Fruit Tree Pruning

Fruit tree pruning can appear overwhelming

Considering everything you may have read over the years about fruit tree pruning, fruit trees seem very delicate compared to nonfruit-bearing trees.

The great news is there is much less to do than you may think. A benefit of correct fruit tree pruning is that your trees will provide much more fruit. The most recent fad in fruit tree pruning is topping in the summer to keep fruit trees at a convenient height. Bob Ray Co. Inc. does NOT recommend topping any types of trees. We will, however, perform selective pruning to maintain fruit trees at a height that will maximize fruit production and be the least stressful to your trees. Bob Ray’s certified and professional arborists will work with you to help you get the most fruit and to have a healthy fruit tree.

Fruit drop. All fruit trees drop excess fruit in the summer since they cannot ripen everything. Don’t be concerned. It is only the tree’s strategy for lessening the stress on its system. You can further thin your fruit while it is small to get a smaller crop with larger individual fruit.

Removing dead wood inside the fruit tree is not necessary but will open up space for productive branching and, in turn, more fruit. Overall fruit tree care and fruit tree pruning is actually very simple.

Many fruit tree growers are maintaining their trees short and planted close together in a hedge-like style. When fruit trees are planted far apart, there is usually an excessive amount of fruit and the really high fruit is difficult to reach. We recommend selecting a perfect height for picking and then prune your fruit trees to remain at that height. This works best if pruning is begun with newly planted trees because aggressive pruning can be very stressful to mature fruit trees. If you wish to decrease a mature fruit tree’s height, Bob Ray Co. suggests an annual Fertilizing program and Dormant Oil spraying to coincide with the selective pruning so as to help the tree recover and continue to be productive.

Tips on pruning various fruit trees

Apple trees

Apple trees are some of the most tolerant fruit trees to pruning. Apple trees can live to be more than 100 years old. Prune in the summer to the desired height. Summer pruning consists of a selective training that focuses on inhibiting vegetative growth while it promotes flower, or fruit, production. Typically, summer pruning is done on the current season’s growth. This will help to increase flowering throughout the tree because of better light penetration. Summer pruning is not recommended on weak, or stressed, trees, as they will not respond favorably. Bob Ray Co. can help you determine whether you wish to summer prune your apple and/or fruit trees, and an effective maintenance program, too.


Apricot trees

Because the Apricot tree can be used as an ornamental tree, you may want to prune these to a certain shape instead of just trimming for optimum fruit-bearing height. Eliminate waterspouts on inside limbs, even though they may develop into productive branches if you need them. As with the apple tree, Apricot trees can be pruned in the summer to a desired height, although this process should be carried out by a professional arborist. In winter, thin only those branches that open up the tree for better air flow. Many smaller-sized apricots taste much better than a few big apricots. Bob Ray Co. does not recommend thinning an apricot tree in summer following the fruit-drop period.

Peach trees

Peaches and nectarines are the least tolerant of pruning. These two types of fruit trees typically are productive for 10 to 15 years. And a peach tree is one of the most dependent on tree care and tree pruning for fruit production. Peach trees bear on last year’s shoot growth and they grow a lot, so at least 50% of last years’ growth should be pruned. Peach trees can be selectively pruned in the summer to the desired height. Bob Ray Co. can prune your peach trees in the summer and in the winter, or dormant season, so your trees will give you the very best fruit production. For bigger peaches, as with apples, your peach trees can be selectively pruned in the summer, after the initial fruit-drop period.