Friday, March 5, 2010
Time to Prune - Apples and other fruits
Okay this is it - the weather is nice enough and the coolest part of winter is behind us. It is finally time to prune our apple trees to make sure we keep them short (ie they are on dwarfing rootstock) and to encourage an open shape on the center of the tree. The period for pruning is over on the coast because things are already blooming but - heh- we are months away from that in Calgary aren't we?
Here are some pruning tips:
- Young trees need to be shaped to remove center and create an open tree.
- Older trees should not require much pruning because you need to do this every year with fruit trees.
- If you missed pruning for a few years then it is time to do it now but don't go crazy- heavy pruning in the dormant season causes over the top water sprouts in spring (and the need for a bit of summer pruning)
- get a proper pruning ladder and really sharp shears
- be brave and remove less than you think you need to remove...
- and finally - get to know your spurs- apples always have these distinctive little branches (about an inch long) and they are the blooming part of the tree!
Photo above is Bernie Dinter, who was teaching a pruning course earlier this year.