You may have missed your window to prune if your buds are very swollen. This is a sign that the sap has begun to flow.
Dang! I'm too late.
Take a good look at the tree.. Ask yourself some questions: - Is the tree balanced or leaning to one side? -Does it have a central branch, called a “leader”? -Does the tree have any broken, dead, dying, or diseased limbs? -Do the branches look too crowded in certain areas? -Are my pruners and saw sharp?
I'm a tree and these things make me sad. -broken, dead, dying, and diseased branches -branches that rub against each other -branches that grow inwards -pruning too late in the spring when my sap is flowing -no water -falling over to one side
Is the tree balanced? If the tree is young and leaning to one side, tie strings or old rubber hose from the tree to two or three stakes and correct the young tree. If the tree is older, imagine how removing some branches would bring balance back to the tree.
Keep my branches healthy! This is a collar. It's where the branch attaches to the trunk. Keep my branches healthy by cutting above the collar but not too high, or else the limb will rot and get me sick. With my collar I can heal around the cut.
Making the first incision... Back cuts should be done before front cuts to keep the bark from peeling back. Cutting right above the collar will help the tree heal and prevent disease. But make sure to not leave more than a couple centimeters of old limb. Using sharp pruners and saws Minimizes damage when cutting.
Remove the Dead, Dying, and Diseased A tree is healthy when it has no wounds for insects, fungus, and bacteria to enter. Remove the three D's first.
Don't forget to back cut or this might happen. Yikes!
Remove crossing and rubbing branches. Begin by removing rubbing branches that are growing inwards instead of outwards. Then remove branches that cross over too many other branches.
Just say no to Umbrellas The old method of tree pruning was to create an “umbrella” tree. It turns out that it's actually quite unhealthy for the tree. sorry trees. Our bad. This method was popular because the fruit was so easy to reach. Any modern-day google search will yield tons of reasons against this method.
Be sure to pay attention throughout the season. See which trees produced well. Note which trees were lacking. Before beginning to prune, be sure to read about specific fruit trees. Pears, for example, do not need to be as heavily pruned as apples. Cherries barely need pruning. This is a basic guide but read up on the specific tree you intend to go after with sharp objects or else you'll regret it! Good luck!