Most fruit trees produce fruit on last year's growth. That means all of your fruit will be found just inside of the new spring branches. The branches at the very edges of your tree's canopy are very thin, and weak, making them poor for supporting heavy fruit loads. Before you start pruning your trees, it is important to learn about spurs, so that you avoid removing or damaging them during pruning. Spurs are short, slow growing branches found on larger sturdier branches inside of your tree's canopy. Sprus are easily identified because the nodes and internodes are very close together, unlike water sprouts that grow rapidly causing the nodes and internodes to be farther apart. Below are some examples of spurs on several different types of fruit trees.
|Apple Tree Spur|
|Peach Tree Spur|
|Pear Tree Spurs|
One reason for pruning your trees yearly is to thin out branches that will shade the inner spurs causing them to abort their fruit prematurely. Another reason is to remove some of the weaker outer growth that will not support the heavy fruit as it ripens and will cause branches to break. For more information about broken branches follow this link about removing broken branches.
For more information regarding the pruning terms used in this post, please visit pruning page here.