Tree Planting 101: Part 6 – Pruning

Pruning a newly planted tree can be administered by an arborist immediately after the tree is planted.  Newly planted trees require minimal pruning – only dead, diseased or injured branches should be pruned immediately after a tree is pruned.  However, once the tree is established – the second or third year after planting, the tree will be ready for more regular pruning.  Pruning (or tree trimming) is important because it helps form the overall branch structure of the tree.  It can also help maintain an attractive shape and encourage flower growth — and more importantly – pruning can help prevent disease by removing dead, diseased and damaged wood.  Dead and diseased wood should be removed from a tree as soon as they are spotted to prevent any potential problems from spreading to other parts of the tree.

Pruning tips:

  • Look for dead or broken branches immediately after planting and prune those back
  • After planting a fruit tree, we can make adjustments to the tree to get the limb positioning the way we want it.  We can shorten the lower, strong limbs significantly to allow the leader to be more dominant.  The terminal leader will grow strong and straight up.
  • During the first year’s growth, it is a good idea to pop off buds so that the tree can focus on growth for a better fruit for the next year
  • Over the course of time, vigorous growth should be pruned lightly and weak growth should be pruned hard.  An arborist can help determine how a tree should be pruned and when.
  • Pruning helps form the overall branch structure of the tree
  • Pruning can help maintain an attractive share through well-judged pruning
  • Pruning can help prevent disease by removing dead, diseased and damaged wood.  These should be removed as soon as they are spotted to prevent any potential problems from spreading to other parts of the tree
  • If dead or damaged wood is present, it can act as an easy entry point for disease – and a plant that is in poor health is much more susceptible to infection by further diseases or attack by pests