Fruit trees can be pruned in winter: how to do it right
Gardening enthusiasts know how important pruning is to tree care. It allows you to improve and rejuvenate them and significantly increase their yield. Traditionally, pruning seasons in the garden are early spring and fall after harvest. But in fact, you can cut off extra branches in winter.
OBOZ.UA asked gardeners for advice on winter pruning of fruit trees. Here are their main recommendations.
Why is it worth pruning trees in winter?
During the cold season, trees are dormant. The sap inside them does not move, so they will more easily tolerate the procedure. In addition, reducing the number of branches will lead to the fact that in the spring the same amount of sap will have to be distributed among fewer buds. This will have a positive effect on their health and productivity. The tree will grow faster and produce a better harvest.
That's why this care is especially recommended for young trees. This allows you to form their crown well and create a strong framework for the main branches. Once the tree is in the right shape, the pruning season can be moved to the warmer half of the year.
In addition, it is in winter that you can clearly see which branches need to be removed. After all, they are not covered with leaves at this time. It is also easier to see signs of plant disease and pest nests.
Which branches should be removed?
First of all, you need to cut off branches that are too thin and damaged. The former will take up some of the sap, but will not yield a crop, while the latter will have a bad effect on the condition of the entire tree. They should be cut to the point where they sprout from the branch or main stem.
It also makes sense to shorten last year's young growth. Lateral shoots that have grown over the summer should be cut to 4-6 buds from the base. It is quite easy to distinguish such branches. They are usually silver-gray in color, unlike older branches that are brown.
You also need to free the tree from branches that block the access of the sun and air to the crown. It should have enough space inside for the fruit to ripen well. You should also get rid of any growths, parasitic plants such as mistletoe, and pest nests.
When to prune the garden in winter?
Technically, any winter day is suitable for this task. The trees are still dormant. But it will be more comfortable for you if the temperature outside the window is around zero. In such weather, it is not so cold to do gardening. And if it is also sunny, you will be able to see the condition of the tree better.
However, gardeners recommend that apple trees, pears, and frost-resistant varieties of cherries and plums undergo the procedure in early winter. But cherries, apricots, peaches, and quince are best treated when winter is in the middle.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA told how to protect fruit trees from rodents in winter.