Regular pruning of fruit trees will leave you tree with a surplus of energy each year. This surplus is the reason for larger healthier fruit, but when your trees set fruit and still have excess energy, they will use this energy for growth. The new branches that results from your pruning efforts are called water sprouts. Each year these unproductive branches must be removed, but they can also be prevented.
Water sprouts can grow as long as ten feet in a single growing season, but they start out much smaller in the spring. New spring growth is herbaceous. This means it has not hardened off and become woody. While these water sprouts are in the herbaceous stage they can be removed easily by hand, without the use of hand pruners. Removing these water sprouts in the spring will eliminate one of the eight steps to correctly pruning your fruit trees.
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