Pruning Fruit Trees (cont)
By: Lee Reich
Shorten and Remove Some Stems
Each year, shorten some stems and remove others completely. Shorten stems where you want increased branching. Remove stems completely where you do not want regrowth, such as where stems are overcrowded. Complete removal is also the way to deal with watersprouts. These vigorous, upright stems shade lower stems and are not very fruitful, so cut them right to their bases as soon as you notice them.
Use a combination of pruning cuts to shorten some stems and eliminate others as appropriate. Even those small, fruiting spurs on apple and pear trees eventually need pruning for rejuvenation and to eliminate overcrowding. The kind of tree dictates the overall amount of pruning needed. The younger the stems on which fruits are borne, the more severe the annual pruning required.
Lee Reich lives in New Paltz, New York.
Photography by National Gardening Asscoiation, illustrations by Elayne Sears