Are you itching to get out of the house and do something productive in the landscape? If you have fruit trees, now is the time to prune. A little planning ahead with fruit trees, such as pruning, can mean big rewards later in the growing season.
Are you like many who are “afraid” to prune? Don’t be. When done correctly, pruning is an essential component of growing a healthy, productive fruit tree. Fruit trees should be pruned every year and for several reasons. The first is the development of a strong tree structure. Pruning should begin when the tree is planted and continued each year thereafter. Another reason to prune is the increased penetration of sunlight for the development of fruit buds and for the fruit to mature properly.
Trees can be pruned this early (winter) because they are dormant. This can be done in January, February and even early March. Pruning when trees are dormant makes it easier to see undesirable branches because leaves aren’t present. It is important to do any pruning before dormant sprays are applied, to avoid spraying some of the wood that will later be removed. Total spray coverage of limbs, branches and shoots will be increased after pruning. Do not prune if temperatures are below 20°F because this can cause tissue damage.