Winter is the perfect time to prune all your deciduous fruit and ornamental trees in the garden.
Pruning your fruit trees will encourage fresh new growth to emerge in the spring, and the development of stronger branches. Pruning can also help encourage your tree to produce more fruit.
Here is an example:
This apricot tree was planted on the 13th of July in 2012. After 12 months you can see the substantial amount of growth that emerged over that period. The main trunk and branches are very strong, which is due to the winter prune I gave when I first planted this tree a year ago.
When pruning your fruit trees, it is important to have your secateurs on the correct angle.
When placing your secateurs, cut parallel to the outward facing bud at the same angle as the bud, about 1cm above the bud, as shown in the photo below.
Never have the lowest point of the angle facing towards the buds tip, as this can lead to the bud rotting.
Always cut your tree branches on an angle, just like the photo. This prevents stem die-back and allows water to run off the stems instead of sitting on top of the stem’s cut point.
Make sure that your secateurs are sharp and clean to ensure that you get a clean cut every time they are used. Unclean cuts may lead to possible infection entry points for fungus and diseases.
When pruning, prune to an outward facing bud as this will encourage future branches to develop away from the trees centre.
If you were to prune to the inward facing bud you will eventually get a branch growing through the centre of the tree, and this is what we don’t want to encourage.
The golden rule to pruning your fruit trees is to the keep the centre of the tree free of any branches and to avoid branches from physically touching one another. By allowing the centre of the fruit trees to be open and free of branches this will help to decrease fungal and pest problems in the spring and summer.
If you are unsure of which is an inward facing or outward facing bud here is an easy way to distinguish them.
The buds themselves are like arrows, the very tip of the bud is the pointer, so the direction the bud’s tip is facing is usually the direction a new branch will form.
Here is an example:
Here are some other examples of how I have pruned my own fruit trees, this is their second winter pruning.
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs