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Pruning for healthier fruit trees.

Byline: U of I Extension

Pruning a fruit tree is like the tale of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." It's easy to be too tentative and end up with branches that later break. While a heavy-handed pruning can result in a tree that grows few apples. But when you prune just right, your fruit trees can be healthy producers for years to come.

One of the secrets to getting fruit out of your home orchard year after year is annual pruning during the dormant season. T

his early-spring task can increase fruit quality, reduce the occurrence of diseases and improve tree health in the long-term.

The easiest branches to remove will be the water sprouts. Water sprouts grow vertically from horizontally trained scaffold branches the tree's main limbs. Once the water sprouts are gone, additional pruning and shaping is easier.

Before you get clipper happy, take a peek at your tree's main limbs. You might need to use branch spreaders to gently nudge old and new scaffold branches in the right direction.

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Author:U of I Extension
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Apr 15, 2020
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