The idea of pruning your Fruit Trees in summer may seem a little odd, but this practice is actually very beneficial. Pruning your Fruit Trees in the summer can improve the overall health of your trees, give your trees a longer life span, and give you a bigger fruit harvest next season. This pruning process is quick, and the positive results last for months.
Why prune your Fruit Trees in the summer?
Summer pruning prevents undersized fruit and fruit overbearing. Fruit Trees like Peach Trees can develop serious problems if left unpruned. Excess fruit and branches become too much for the tree to support. Fruit overbearing causes trees to have a lot of small fruit that falls off before it reaches its full size or fully ripens. Also, fruit overbearing causes the branched trees to get weighed down and break! These breaks are often unclean and can easily get infected, spreading diseases to the rest of your tree. With these problems prevented you’ll get a lot of mature full-sized fruit!
Excess Branches can get in the way of sunlight and block air flow for fruit-bearing branches. Without sunlight and air circulation blocked, dark damp areas develop on your fruit and branches.
These areas easily grow mold and spread infections to the rest of your tree. For example, by pruning the branches on an Apple Tree, more apples will receive direct sunlight, growing larger, fuller, and tastier.
Fruit grown in direct sunlight has a higher resistance to infections and diseases. Also, the increased air flow between your tree’s branches will minimize the risk of molds and diseases.
What to prune?
Just take a moment to look at your tree and you’ll notice branches that need to be removed. Some branches you may just want to remove to keep your tree a certain shape or height that you desire. Branches that need to be removed will visibly stand out.
Look for any dormant branches that didn’t come back after winter. These are dead branches that attract diseases. Large limbs that are close together that compete with each other, often crossing or rubbing limbs. Also look for limbs that are growing inwards towards the trunk of your tree, or limbs that are growing downwards.
Be sure to remove water sprouts and suckers. Water sprouts are non-fruit producing limbs that grow upright, vertically. They can grow from the center of the tree, off of the main leader or on branches. Usually, water sprouts grow from dormant buds that may be visible, or hidden beneath the bark. Water sprouts are much softer and weaker than other limbs, and break very easily. They also tend to block the sunlight from fruit producing limbs.
Suckers are natural growths that can pop up on the base of your tree or from the root system. Trees use suckers as a way to spread without using their seeds. Suckers are commonly mistaken for positive growth, because people think that they have another tree growing when they see them. In reality, suckers are bad news. They steal energy, nutrients and water from the main leaders of trees, and from their root systems. Suckers are a nuisance like weeds and should be treated as such.
How to Prune Your Fruit Trees in the summer.
Once your Fruit Tree is established usually after a year of growth or around three years of age it’s time to prune it! This process should take place in the summer months after you harvest your fruit. For example, the Methley Plum Tree’s harvest is around mid-July, so it’s ready to be pruned in early August.
Be sure to use the correct tools to prune your trees. Use hand pruners or loppers with curved blades that are clean and sharp. Don’t rush things. Take a long look at your tree and decide which branches need to be removed and which branches you want to keep. For branches that you want to keep and develop into stronger branches, cut them back to about three inches from their starting point. Leave two or three buds on each branch.
Make your cuts at 45 degree angles facing upwards to promote new growth. For branches like water sprouts that you want to get rid of, cut them back to about an inch long with a vertical cut. To remove suckers, firmly grasp them close to the ground and pull them in an upwards twisting motion.
If this technique fails, clip suckers as close to the ground as possible using pruning shears. Some experts suggest digging around suckers cutting them below the soil line.
Reap The Benefits.
Fruit Trees don’t always need summer pruning. It’s a simple process that can be accomplished over time. Master planters use summer pruning as a process to improve the overall health of their trees. Summer pruning will also increase the fruit yield for next year’s harvest and give you larger, healthier fruit. Pruning allows you to stay one step ahead of the growing season.