Summer Pruning of Fruit Trees
Many deciduous fruit trees with an established framework can be pruned during summer after harvest. Although not essential, pruning fruit trees has many advantages, such as, creating a stronger framework resistant to branch damage; increased air circulation meaning reduced incident of pest and disease problems; increased sunlight received to all parts of the tree, which improves fruit production and size; and maintained height for ease of harvest. Summer pruning in particular restricts plant height and promotes fast healing of pruning cuts (especially important with species susceptible to ‘bleeding’ and fungal disease).
Summer pruning of fruit trees includes the maintenance of framework branches and removal of any new vigorous growth from the centre of the tree. Avoid carrying out extensive pruning during exceptionally hot weather, to prevent burning newly exposed foliage or causing undue stress to the tree. Once a summer pruning routine has been established, minimal if any winter pruning will be required.
All pruning work should be carried out using quality and appropriate pruning tools, that is, the right tool for the diameter of material being cut. It is also important to keep tools sharp and clean, to prevent damaging plant branches and spreading disease.