Pruning Fruit Trees and Bushes

Trim for vigor and maximum fruit production

The following table provides an introduction to how and when to prune as well as what tool works best.

Plant When How to prune Tools to use
APPLE Late Winter/Early Spring Prune moderately.
Keep main branches well spaced around tree.
Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers, and pruning saw
Summer Prune to encourage good structure growth and support. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
BLACKBERRY Summer Cut back new shoots to approximately 3 1/2 feet. Bypass and anvil pruners
BLUEBERRY Winter First few years, remove fruit buds to promote overall plant vigor. Prune weak, low-growing shoots and head new canes to 5 in. below top of bush.

Prune only when dry to prevent disease. Avoid pruning fruit buds which are fatter than leaf buds and appear on year old wood.

For mature plants, remove weak shoots. Thin crown by removing about 20% of the canes per year and head new canes to 5 in. below top of bush.
Bypass and anvil pruners
CHERRY Late Winter/Early Spring Lightly prune the most vigorous shoots. Bypass pruner, loppers, pruning saw
CITRUS   Prune any time (except hot weather). Never prune more than 25% at one time. Prune to remove dead, diseased, or twiggy growth. Bypass pruner, loppers, pruning saw
CRABAPPLE Summer Remove weak internal shoots and crowded branches to a crotch. Enhance weeping and spreading forms by thinning; this accentuates growth patterns. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
ELDERBERRY Late Winter/Early Spring After fruiting, remove the oldest shoots at the ground. Alternately, cut back an old plant hard to force a new crop of canes. Bypass and anvil pruners
GRAPE Late Winter/Early Spring Heavily prune old wood back to the main vine. Cut previous year´s growth back to four or five buds. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
(Pecan, Filbert, etc.)
Late Winter/Early Spring Nut trees seldom need pruning, but are very susceptible to disease and insect problems. Prune to remove any diseased or damaged branches. Bypass pruner, loppers, pruning saw
OLIVE Avoid pruning when cold or sap is running. Prune after fruiting to regulate later harvests and control size. Prune after flowering to prevent fruiting, if desired. Remove all suckers, and dead or diseased wood. You should be able to see light through the canopy; thin accordingly. Bypass pruner, loppers, pruning saw
PEACH Late Winter/Early Spring Prune for low, ballshaped top at a clean trunk. Vigorously prune one half of previous year´s growth. Keep center of tree open for good air circulation. Very poisonous. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers, pruning saw
PEAR Late Winter/Early Spring Prune lightly each year. Thin excess branches to encourage a spreading tree. Prune young tree to a central leader. Bypass pruner, loppers, pruning saw
PLUM Late Winter/Early Spring Prune moderately and a little each year at the crown to keep shoots coming on. Bypass pruner, loppers, pruning saw
RASPBERRY Summer Head back new canes to approximately 22 inches. Remove spent canes and excess shoots. Bypass and anvil pruners
WILD CHERRY Summer Prune very lightly. Trim lower branches and burn the extremely poisonous wilted foliage. Anvil pruner, loppers, pruning saw

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