Trees in your home's landscape can help create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor living space. If you opt to incorporate fruit or nut trees into your landscape design, you will also have access to fresh foods throughout the growing season.
Pruning plays a critical role in the development of all trees, but it is especially critical for fruit and nut-bearing trees. If you improperly prune your trees, you might cause permanent damage that might compromise your trees' ability to produce the fruits and nuts you love.
Depending on the type of tree you have in your yard, you should use one of three pruning methods for maximum growth and yield.
Natural-Habit Pruning System
When utilizing a natural-habit pruning system to care for your trees, you work with the natural growth pattern of the tree to ensure proper growth. This pruning system works best for citrus, pomegranate, or fig trees.
Once your tree has established mature growth, you can begin trimming away new suckers and overgrowth as needed to maximize the amount of sunlight filtering through the tree and keep the tree from becoming too top-heavy. You aren't attempting to change the shape of the tree, just manage growth to minimize potential problems.
Heading cuts can be utilized to stimulate the growth of new fruit or nut-bearing buds. You can also use thinning cuts to eliminate entire branches when your trees become too dense. The natural-habit system is simple and allows you to better care for your citrus, pomegranate, and fig trees over time.
Central-Leader Pruning System
Some trees remain healthiest when all major branches stem from a single trunk. This trunk provides stability to the tree and serves as the main leader when creating an appropriate shape.
The central-leader pruning system requires that you retain the integrity of the primary trunk and control the growth and density of all fruit or nut-bearing side branches instead. Thinned-out side branches reduce overcrowding and eliminate stunted growth caused by lack of adequate sunlight.
If you have fruit trees that produce apples, cherries, or pears in your yard, then the central-leader pruning system will produce maximum yield. The central-leader system is also the best option for maintaining pecan trees.
Open-Center Pruning System
While the central-leader system leaves the main trunk of your tree standing tall, the open-center pruning system requires that you lop off the top of the main trunk to create a vase-like shape.
Opening up the center of your fruit tree by eliminating the canopy cover provided by a central trunk helps to maximize the amount of sunlight distributed throughout the branches. An open-center pruning system also creates a sturdy structure that is capable of bearing the weight of stone fruit varieties as they mature.
If your landscape includes peach, apricot, or nectarine trees, then you will want to utilize open-center pruning to increase the yield of your harvest. This system also maintains the structural integrity of your stone fruit tree over time.
The removal of dead or diseased branches helps increase the overall health of your trees. The right pruning method for your fruit and nut trees can help you not only maintain the condition of your trees but improve harvest counts as well.
Natural-habit, central-leader, and open-center pruning systems can each provide you with the tools needed to control tree growth in a safe and productive way.
If you need help caring for the fruit and nut trees in your yard, contact the experienced professionals at R & R Tree and Landscaping. We can evaluate your trees and prune them properly to improve your home's landscape. Visit our website today for more information.