All fruit trees require pruning for optimum plant health, growth, and fruit
set. Different types of fruit trees require different types of
Pruning is the removal of a portion of a tree to correct or maintain
tree structure. Training is a relatively new practice in which tree
growth is directed into a desired shape and form. Training young
fruit trees is essential for proper tree development. It is better to
direct tree growth with training than to correct it with pruning.
Prune in the very early spring, before
growth has begun. It is recommend that you start training your
new tree once it has been planted.
For apples and pears, here is the recommended pruning method:
Your goal is to prune for a strong central leader. To do this,
remove the tip, leaving at least 4 buds below it. Do this the first
year. Leave at least 32" from the ground to the top of the tree.
2) Starting the second year, in the winter following planting, again trim
back the top shoot, but make sure it stays the tallest.
3)Your goal is a pyramid-type shape. Prune to 3 or 4 main branches
after you complete step# 2. Select a second set of main branches
higher than the first after each subsequent year's growth.
The top of the tree should look like this:
For peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots, do this:
1) Select 3-5 main limbs on the tree, coming from a central trunk
2) Remove (I know it's hard to do!) the other later branches, and remove the center
main trunk, so that the tree has an "open center" with several strong side branches.
3) Remove the center branch at about 30' above the ground on larger trees. On smaller trees,
you can begin to the process of creating this open center shape by removing the top
of the tree, so that later branches will begin to form
4) Your final product will be a vase-shaped tree. This type of
pruning cuts down on disease, and enhances fruit production by
restricting space where fruit can grow, thereby giving u you larger,
Make sure to cut back larger trees so that they have an open center.
Peaches and nectarines need to be pruned almost every year.