If you ask a group of people to state the best time for pruning fruit trees, you are likely to get different answers. The truth is that the best time to prune a tree is when you can achieve the objective of the pruning. Here are some common pruning objectives, and suggestions on when you should prune your trees to achieve them:
To Train Young Trees
Fruit trees thrive when they are pruned right after planting. The early pruning trains the tree and sets it up for strong growth. Also, early pruning minimizes the need for pruning later on when the branches are bigger, and bruising is likely to be more extensive. Lastly, this early pruning encourages low branching, which is necessary for maximizing fruit production.
To Invigorate the Trees
Pruning trees when they are dormant is the best way to invigorate the remaining foliage. This is usually in the winter. If you prune your trees in the summer, then you are reducing the number of leaves, and trees need leaves to manufacture their food. Pruning fruit trees when they are dormant (when the leaves are off) is also advisable because you can easily see what you are doing and which limbs should be removed (for example because they are unhealthy).
To Remove Diseased Parts
One of the purposes of pruning trees is to rid them of their dead parts. For example, you can prune your fruit trees to remove broken limbs, fungi infected branches, and dry branches. This kind of pruning can, and should, be done at any time. This is because the earlier you remove the dead (or dying) parts, the more you will be able to prevent the damage from spreading to other parts of the tree.
To "Dwarf" The Trees
Although summer is generally not the best time to prune your trees, there are situations that necessitate the removal of some branches at this time. For example, you should prune your fruit tree in summer if you want to slow down its growth. This works because pruning reduces the amount of food that the tree manufacturers. Summer pruning may also be necessary for specific species whose fruits need sunlight to ripen, such as apples and pears.
As you can see, there is no universal "best time" on when to prune your fruit trees. It all depends on a number of factors such as the reason for pruning and the species of trees. This is why you need to research widely, and consult a tree professional, before embarking on fruit tree pruning.
For professional pruning services, contact a company such as Northwest Residential Arborist And Excavating.