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Pruning and Fertilizing Fruit Trees

Much like any other deciduous tree, pruning and fertilizing fruit trees are essential practices for the longevity of the plant.

According to the Colorado State University Extension, proper pruning and fertilization is critical – especially for trees tasked not only with leaf development and sustainment, but also fruit production.

Proper pruning and fertilization quick facts:

  • Ensures healthy, strong fruit trees for years to come.
  • Trains and develops young fruit trees to avoid problems later.
  • Properly pruned and fertilized trees are less susceptible to disease organisms and breakage from fruit loads and storms.

When to prune fruit trees

For desert-grown fruit trees, pruning should occur in the spring between February and April. When pruning fruit trees exposes a large limb to direct sunlight, completing the job in the late winter or early spring will provide enough time for new foliage to develop in order to shade the fresh cuts – protecting it from damage.

Pruning should never occur from May through October as exposed limbs can be damaged by the sunlight and cause sunscald or bark rot (sooty mold) – a disease that has no cure other than to remove the entire limb. Limbs should ONLY be removed at this time if damage has occurred.

Why sprouts should be removed

Sprouts (or offshoots) generally take away vital nutrients, water and energy from the overall canopy of the tree. Any fruit that is produced on these tiny shoots is often inedible and therefore should always be removed. Pruning shoots can and should be done throughout the growing season. This task is easily handled by homeowners on a routine basis.

Pruning medium and large branches

It is generally recommended that a professional tree care company be utilized when pruning your fruit trees. An understanding of the biology of your fruit tree, combined with aesthetic expertise and proper safety practices makes it a wise choice for homeowners. For a free tree evaluation, contact SavATree today.

Fertilization is critical for health and growth

Fruit trees should be fertilized with a nitrogen rich fertilizer applied first in early spring. This will aid in overall endurance and healthy foliage at the start of the season, as well as maximizing the fruit quality at first harvest. Fertilization should occur two more times throughout the growing season – one in June and the other in September. A good way to remember when to fertilize your fruit trees is to remember the holidays: St. Patrick’s Day (March); The First Day of Summer (June); Labor Day (September).

It’s important to always inspect your trees as the growing seasons progresses. Make it part of your weekly routine and take notice of any changes in the branches or fruit. Most of all, if you suspect an issue with the health or structural rigidity of your tree, contact SavATree immediately.