When you see the difference in production between a fruit tree that has been pruned (and loved) and one that has been left to its own devices, you will be convinced that it is worth taking the time to prune it. And anyway, pruning is fun! The main aim of pruning is:
- to encourage renewal of fruiting wood for regular crops of quality fruit
- to let light into the tree
- to remove diseased parts and
- to control a tree's height
During the early stages of tree development, the main goal is to develop the shape and framework which will support the heavy crops of fruit. Pruning is done in winter when trees are dormant. Make sure secateurs are sharp, and cut just each growth bud.
When removing dead or diseased wood, always cut through the healthy tissue below the diseased section. Paint large cuts with a sealing compound to protect against disease.
Peach and Nectarine Trees flower on new wood produced the previous summer. Prune hard to encourage new growth; otherwise fruit will be produced further and further out on the branches each year. Don't remove too many flower buds or the current season's crop will suffer. Flower buds are plump and round while growth buds are flatter.
Three main fruit tree shapes are:
- Central Leader, a shape that is popular because it requires minimal pruning (usually only after the fourth year) and because it is easy to train.
- Pyramid shape with one central leader and tiers of fruiting branches.
- Vase shape, traditional system which has four to five leaders growing from an open centre.
- Espalier, regaining popularity, especially for smaller gardens. A style of fruit tree training that can be particularly decorative. The tree is trained in a fan shape on wires or fences.
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm