Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Don't Fall Prune Fruit Trees

I will talk about pruning fruit trees in a later post, but I would like to emphasize that now (fall) is not a good time to prune fruit trees - for 2 main reasons. The first reason is that trees are shifting nutrients away from the top of the tree to the root system. By pruning now, you may be limiting the amount of nutrients that are available to the tree next spring (when it really needs it). Waiting until the tree has gone completely dormant will insure that the maximum amount of nutrients have been stored.

The second reason you do not want to prune now is shown by the picture. In this image, you can see new growth emerging as a result of recent pruning. This new growth is very tender and very susceptible to frost and freeze damage (if we ever get any cold weather). Chances are this new growth will not harden off in time before winter sets in and will be killed.

Fruit trees, in this area, are already under stress from dry conditions. Adding stress to the tree by fall pruning may reduce next years crop and reduce viable fruiting wood.

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