Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Can Fruit Trees be Pruned in the Fall?

I get this question a lot. Can I prune my fruit trees in the fall? The answer is yes. If you prune your fruit tees in the fall they will not die, but lets discuss when fall pruning would benefit your fruit tree. See our blog post published February 5, 2013 to see when is the best time to prune your fruit trees.

Fruit Tree Pruning in the Fall
In the fall fruit trees are in a state of change. They are preparing for the winter by pulling energy from their leaves and transporting it in their roots to store for the following spring's colorful display. If large branches are removed before this energy transportation is complete, you may be robbing your tree's root system of that energy.

As mentioned earlier, pruning your fruit trees in the fall will not kill your tree, but your tree may not produce as well the following spring, but there are times when depriving your tree of this energy is desirable. Some mature trees have a surplus of energy and they use that energy in the spring towards growth. For example, some large apple trees will send up thousands upon thousands of non-fruit-producing water sprouts in the spring that end up shading out the spurs that are the primary fruit producing branches on your fruit tree. So, if your fruit trees have reached optimal size, then you will not want your trees to grow much in the the spring. Also, for some of you, your trees produce more fruit each fall then you can eat, preserve, and/or give away. If you are in this situation, then a good fall pruning might be beneficial and might simplify your pruning in the spring.

Autumn is also a great time to inspect your tree for weak branch angles, over extended branches, and other problems that could multiply if an early wet snow engulfed your tree and put excessive downward pressure on your branches. If you find that your tree may develop problems such as these during the winter, then it is recommended that you take a proactive approach and remove the branches in danger now instead of waiting for spring.

So we ask again, can you prune your fruit trees in the fall? Yes, but what are your trying to achieve and would it be better to wait till spring? I'll let you decide.

For more information about some of the pruning terms used in this post, visit our website at www.simplytreesut.com and under the services tab, click on education.