• 52°

Danelle Cutting: You must prune, but you must do it right

Extension agent

Cutting

Cutting

Most people believe my job slows down in the winter and that I actually get a break.

Contrary to that belief, winter can actually be an omen of what is to come in spring. This is particularly true when we start receiving plant catalogs, requests to attend grower conferences and teach programs, and calls to assist with pruning.

Pruning is essential for having fruit trees and shrubs. It is not as important in other landscape plants unless the homeowner wants to increase their blooms or remove diseased limbs.

I receive calls a year in advance to come out and help train individuals to properly prune their fruit trees and shrubs. The reason is that pruning can be scary for beginners, for fear they may wound or kill their plants. The problem is that if you want good quality fruit, you have to prune. Hopefully with this article, you can learn some simple guidelines that will aid you in pruning your fruit trees.

Pruning is easiest on dead, diseased and damaged plants. This can be done anytime of the year. If you had a peach tree limb break due to the heavy weight of the peaches, you can prune it out. Has the limb been dead for a few years? Go ahead and get rid of it. Does the limb look discolored due to disease? Remove it, and get rid of the diseased branch.

Simple right? Remember not to remove more than a third of the plant/tree at a time. If older growth needs to be removed, look for new growth to take its place.

The best time to do major pruning is around February to early March. Pruning fruit trees in December is not recommended. It is too early and could cause some problems. There is also summer pruning, but this article will focus on dormant pruning. It is best to prune when plants are young, in order to begin training them.

I receive many calls about pruning older trees. I often discover that the trees are very old and have never been pruned. This makes it difficult to prune effectively and get a decent harvest. The trees are almost dead, the limbs are curled and mangled, and disease has taken over. It is almost better to start over with a new trees/shrubs. Of course, no one likes to hear this; that’s why it is so important to start early.

There are different pruning techniques for different trees. For example, peaches are pruned to an open center, apples are pruned to have a center leader, and pears are pruned to have a center leader or a multi-leader system.

Over the next few articles, I will discuss how to prune peaches, apples, blueberries and blackberries. If you would like information before my articles are posted, contact me at 704-216-8970, or visit some of our pruning publications:

Training and pruning fruit trees: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/training-and-pruning-fruit-trees-in-north-carolina.pdf

Growing and pruning blueberries: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/growing-blueberries-in-the-home-garden.pdf

http://umaine.edu/gardening/resources/how-to-prune-blueberry-bushes/

Pruning and training blackberries: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/pruning-and-training-thornless-blackberries/

 

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

High School

High school football: Hornets pour it on in second half to claim state championship

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training