Many trees are pruned in the fall, winter, or spring. People are sometimes puzzled if they should prune their trees or why this is done. There are many benefits from pruning your trees, particularly your fruit trees.
Fruit Trees are pruned for many reasons. If not kept pruned they would grow naturally, often shooting branches straight up into the air. The fruit on these branches becomes hard to reach. This fruit becomes wasted for our use, although birds will enjoy it.
Fruit trees are typically pruned to keep branches well spaced, and down low, making for an easier harvest.
Fewer Branches Mean Fewer Fruits or Flowers
When a tree that has fruit or flowers, is pruned the fewer branches will result in fewer flowers, and less fruit. However the flowers, and fruit tend to be bigger. As such, by pruning to reduce the number of branches on a tree, and eliminating those that are not in a good position, a person can increase the size of the fruit.
Improving the Tree’s Shape
Trees that are grown for ornamental reasons are, of course, pruned to improve their over all shape and appearance. The desire of the gardener is to have a full, symmetrical plant, or one shaped to make a visual statement.
Crabapples on my own tree.
Pruning is also done to remove unhealthy branches. Typically before anything else is removed from tree, the unhealthy branches should be taken away, thus leaving the gardener with a healthy tree from which to work.
When a tree has too many branches they can tend to rub on each other, this can cause injures to the tree and can open it up for infection, or parasite invasion. So by removing excess, messy, branches, the overall health of the tree can be maintained.
Trees are also pruned for basic safety reasons. Sometimes branches threaten power-lines or nearby buildings. These should be removed. You may want to note that if your neighbors tree is leaning over your property you usually have the legal right to prune and remove any branches that are over your yard.
What to do with your Branches?
While most branches can be used for firewood you may want to know that apple tree branches are particularly good for rabbits, hamsters, and Guinea pigs, to chew on. Make sure you have not sprayed your tree with any chemicals before you give your pet a branch from your tree to nibble.
Branches cannot be composted by many cities have branch clean up days in conjunction with their regular garbage pick up, and the branches are mulched up and used on city park trails, so you should try to look for this option when pruning your trees.
You will also want to note that different trees have different times of the year when they should be pruned, and you should follow proper pruning technique for each plant type.
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Published in: Gardening