Flowering shrubs also need dormant pruning for the same reasons above but some may also need pruning at other times. Trees and shrubs that blossom in early spring, the dogwood and red-bud for instance, need to be pruned right after they flower. Many flowering trees can be susceptible to fire blight, a bacterial disease, which can spread by pruning. These trees, such as crab apple, pear, varieties of hawthorn, mountain ash, pyracantha, and flowering quince need to be pruned during the dormant season. Those that flower during summer or fall should also be pruned during dormancy. Dead branches, on the other hand, can be removed at any time.
Fruit trees will not develop to the proper form or shape without any pruning or training. Properly pruned and trained fruit trees will yield a higher quality fruit earlier and their live span will be longer. The objective to pruning and training is to develop a strong tree framework that will be able to support a large crop of fruit. If fruit trees are not trained in the proper way the angle of the branches will be much too upright and can cause breakage with a heavy crop. This will cause a reduction in the productivity of the tree and shorten its life. Another aspect of annual pruning and training is to get rid of all diseased, broken, and dead limbs.
Proper tree training will open up the tree's canopy and allow penetration of maximum light. The majority of fruit on a deciduous tree is formed the previous year as flower buds. The penetration of light is most important in the development of buds along with the optimal fruit set, flavor and quality. Even if a mature fruit tree is growing quite well in full sun, a dense canopy will prevent enough sunlight to reach 18 inches inside the tree. Opening up the canopy of the tree allows for proper movement of air to allow speed in drying to minimize infection and allow penetration of pesticides. A perfectly shaped fruit tree can be a beautiful asset to a garden or landscaping.
In the past pruning has always been the method in forming and structuring fruit trees. Tree training is a more desirable and effective way to enhance the structure and form. Pruning is simply the removal of portions of a tree that correct the structure; training is a newer application where the direction of the growth to a desired form and shape is determined. Training a fruit tree is important for proper development. It is always better to train the direction of the growth than to prune to correct it. Pruning is usually done in the winter while training and pruning is done in summer as well as pruning in dormancy. The purpose of training is to correct the growth of a tree as well as to minimize cutting.
Trees respond differently to summer pruning and dormant pruning. In the fall the energy of the tree is stored in the root and trunk system to support the top section. If removal of a large portion of the tree is done during dormancy, the tree's energy is not changed. In the spring, the tree will react by producing many upright, energetic shoots called water sprouts; these will shade the tree and prevent good development. Heavy pruning during dormancy causes the same problem.
Dormant tree pruning needs to be done late in the season to avoid winter injury. Apple and pecan trees need pruning before peach tree pruning, plum-tree pruning and cherry tree pruning. A practice is to prune early blooming trees last and the later blooming trees first. It is best to prune the older trees first as the younger ones are prone to winter injury with early pruning. Summer pruning reduces a lot of the tree's energy which will result in tree growth reduction. Pruning can begin as soon as the buds start growing, but usually it begins after the growth of vegetation is several inches in length. Generally speaking summer pruning is only to remove vigorous and upright growth and only the cuts that will do some thinning. Summer pruning needs to be completed before the end of July in order to lower any problems of winter injury.
Barbara has learned a lot regarding tree pruning in order to better quality fruit trees. She has a number of articles regarding landscape on her website Gardeners Garden Supplies so please visit and leave your comments.
Article provided by Barbara Volkov