Thursday, April 14, 2011

Prepping the Fruit Trees for Spring

It's time to start getting ready for growing season and our apples trees needed some serious TLC!

Here's a good website that provides some suggestions

Here's what we started with....

It's hard to tell in the photo but the tree is very overgrown and has way too many branches. The last few years we struggled with fungus on our apples. The fruit needs air and light to grow healthy and to help prevent disease. As you can see, our apples were not getting much air or light!
This is a picture of one of our trees at the end of last season.

Step one--get the right tools. "For smaller trees and detailed pruning, they use pruning loppers, hand shears, and a hand saw" CHECK!

Step two--Start cutting
1. Always start with the big cuts first and then move to more detailed pruning
2. You want the bottom branches to be longer than the top branches
3. And you don't want any branches growing straight up or down, which can create structural issues
4. You want the branches at a 45 degree angle off of the trunk, which will be strong
5. Eliminate the little suckers
6. Remove dead limbs
7. Don't take out more than 30% of the live growth. This will hurt production!
8. Step back and assess your work to determine if your done.

The website also had a helpful video

Step three--Clean up

Final product
Hopefully you can see the difference!

Much more airy!

Look at all the branches we removed!