My biggest task in the garden I was working on in Boolarra last week was to bring to heel some rather exuberant fruit trees in an orchard that has not been pruned for quite a few years. I am not even sure all the trees are on dwarfing rootstock, so their capacity for growth knows no bounds. I chose to prune them now, the wrong time, in an attempt to knock a bit of vigour out of the growth of the trees. We will see how well that works. I will keep you updated.
Basically I cut out all the staunch upright growth with my handy little pruning saw and tidied up crossing branches and dead wood with my secateurs and loppers.
From the picture you can see it was a classic autumn day. The clippings went to the cows, who love fruit tree leaves (as well as fruit, apples in particular). The lopped branches will end up in a piece of rustic fencing at ‘Clear Springs’.
5 thoughts on “It’s the wrong time to prune fruit trees”
Looking good. In fact, summer pruning – or in the case of apples, pruning after cropping – isn’t actually the ‘wrong’ time year. The theory is the trees should develop more spurs as a result, enhancing the subsequent years’ crops. It’s just that traditionally, winter is the time to hard prune as it is much easier to see what you’re doing without all those pesky leaves in the way 🙂
Yes that’s so true, Matt. My favourite part of pruning whether summer or winter is to see the tree emerge out of the mess of overlapping branches and upright growth. How do you go with pruning peaches?
I usually prune peaches in summer here in the mountains.
In the winter it is just too cold for the wounds to heal easily and we have a lot of black ice and frozen fog, so it can really cause damage to the wood leaving it exposed all winter long.
I take off at least 1/2 the spring growth and still aim for the vase shape and take the tree back to about 7-9′ tall. I also look out for any of the branches that have that gummy sap at the buds and prune these hard – if you leave them on, the leaves end up withering and the branch dies anyway.
Thanks, mate. That’s great. Cheers.
I have a peach tree flowering in the chook pen right now. May. It’s crazy.