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  • Writer's pictureJulia Steele

How to Prune Fruit Trees 101

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Here you are on a beautiful Saturday morning, napkin tucked into your shirt, ready to dig in to your smashed avo but wait... the sad reality...

How long does it take to grow an avocado?

Avocados take from 5 to 10 years from seed to produce fruit. From propagating the seed and producing a single tap root takes 1 month. To have a nicely formed 2 foot sapling takes approximately 2 years. With regular pruning and shaping of your tree, you'll be harvesting your own avocados in no time! Or roughly 5 to 10 years, but who's counting!

How do I prune my avocado tree or fruit tree?

Firstly, make sure your tools are clean. Use some alcohol or methylated spirits to ensure there's no cross contamination for whatever the tool was previously cutting.

Secondly, follow the three D's! Dead, dying and diseased. This is what you want to prune off when you're pruning your fruit trees. Any dead branches, any leaves which look discolored and diseased - these are the ones you want to get rid of and take the fruit tree back to where there's healthy growth.

Thirdly, look for the branches which are CAC - Crossing, Accute angles, Clustering. The goal when pruning fruit trees is to promote strength and form so that the tree can produce lots of tasty fruit. So look for any crossing branches which are rubbing and fighting for space and prune away the subordinate or less dominant branch back to the trunk. Next, look for the branches which are growing at accute angles. This is where you're trying to create that "goblet" shape for your fruit trees (btw, this takes time! Or a few seasons! Take a look at the diagram below). By pruning away the branches growing at accute angles, you're creating nice and strong "U-shaped" branch unions which will support the weight of the fruit when they appear! After that, look for clustering. This is where branches are just too busy and fighting for space, light and ventilation. You want to prune away the excess and leave a nice form for each branch so the tree grows in the direction you want it to.

Don't be scared of pruning your fruit trees by taking around one third each year. Regularly apply fertilizer and mulch around the base so that your fruit trees have the best chance of taking off.

When should I prune my fruit tree?

If you're doing a hard prune (removing one third), it's best to prune during late winter. This allows the tree to recover and resprout in Spring/Summer when it comes into fruiting season.

So that's about it! Soon enough you'll have an orchard of stone fruits and citrus trees to look back at while you dig into some smashed avo!

Gold Coast arborists often work on large tree pruning and tree removal. However, pruning fruit trees is an art where our skills in tree maintenance can come in handy too. If you need any advice or a free quote for pruning your orchard, please call She Trees on 0490355360.

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