October 15, 2017
I am considering pruning a variety of different fruit trees sometime this month. Can someone give me a sense of what the pros or cons of this would be? I would love to get it in before leaf drop to stunt the trees a bit. I live in Eugene.
One I have heard is that it would encourage new growth, which would then not harden off. I have a hard time believing it would put out new growth this late in the year, but I guess it is a possibility.
April 6, 2015
To control tree size, I think it is better to prune in July or August. Pruning this late in the year, the tree has most likely started its dormancy cycle and drawn back a lot of nutrients from the foliage and put the energy into storage. Pruning wounds won't have a chance to heal much before winter rains either.
Hard pruning in the spring is a good opportunity to reshape a tree but won't control tree size. Stored energy in the tree from the prior year tends to try to regrow all that was cut off. I find it a good time to topwork to different cultivars because the scion gets force fed and grows more quickly.
October 15, 2017
Thanks. That was my thoughts as well. My main hold up with pruning now as opposed to later would be opening up wounds + some sap flow occurring during the moist fall conditions. I do think that there would be some stunting effect to pruning now, as there is still bright green leaves and nutrient transferring occuring throughout the tree, though a lot less than mid-late summer
March 16, 2015
There are some trees, stone fruit and quince among them, that you should not prune in the rain, as it opens them to disease. Since on the west side of PNW it is frequently raining now, it is a time to be cautious with those. Anyone with a large number of trees and bushes can't really only prune in summer, as there is just too much work to be done. I agree that size limiting is most successful in summer pruning, but that's what selected rootstock is for.
March 16, 2015
Think I agree with everything said My suggestion, if you’ve not already gone-to-town on your project, is to wait until full dormancy this winter. Make the major cuts while you can see through the bare limbs and remove the debris without damaging leaves or tender growth - thinning right out to the edges. Normal winter pruning, basically - then follow up this Summer by removing water-shoots shortly after they emerge, and tip-pinching (causing multiple branching and fruit bud production) desirable yet excessive end growth.
Your trees will have lost their ability to collect the usual nutrient store, and by quickly removing worthless shoots or excessive summer growth, their intake will be limited and hopefully come into balance with their storage capacity. My concern with severe pruning is the likely diebak of an equal portion of the root system, lacking it’s normal energy supply due to canopy loss.
That said, I’ve learned it’s best to gradually remove larger sections of well established trees than ‘all at once.’ However, when pruning for the average homeowner, they want it done ‘now.’ I understand. Balance & time vs. instant gratification ~
To me, another enjoyable aspect of orcharding is sculpting your trees, and that the best Orchardist's develop the skill of summer pruning, with timing and knowledge allowing them to acquire perhaps three ‘seasons’ of desirable development in one ... a goal of mine..
OK, am I far enough afield
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