How to Trim Fruit Trees or Bushes to Make Them Come Back Even Better in Spring

How to Trim Fruit Trees or Bushes to Make Them Come Back Even Better in Spring

The best time of year for pruning most shrubs and trees is either late winter or early spring, though there are some plants that do better when pruned at other times of year. If you want your fruit trees or flowering shrubs to grow back well in the spring, it’s important for you to time that fruit tree pruning correctly.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about fruit tree pruning:

All in the timing

Most plants go dormant during the winter in temperate and cold-weather regions because this is when active growth stops, and they need to conserve their energy to survive the winter. Dormancy is the best time to adjust the shape of many trees and shrubs. You must prune before any new growth begins, so the plant can put its energy toward producing new growth when spring temperatures arise.

There’s also a practical element to consider here. It’s much easier for you to determine the shape of the plant in the winter when its foliage is not present. 

Trees that bloom on new growth should be pruned in the winter or early spring, and trees that bloom on old growth should be pruned in late spring or summer, after their flowers are gone for the season.

Tips for specific fruit tree pruning

Here are a few examples of some of the needs of specific fruit trees and shrubs that you should consider:

  • Apple trees: Apple trees should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Prune them moderately, and make sure the tree stays open with the main branches well separated. Try to avoid creating sharp, V-shaped crotches.
  • Cherry trees: Cherry trees are best pruned in late winter to early spring. Focus on pruning only the most vigorous shoots moderately.
  • Hydrangea: Flowering hydrangea bushes have varying needs depending on the specific subtype. Smooth hydrangea should have all their stems cut to the ground, but bigleaf and oakleaf hydrangea should have their stems with old flowers still attached cut back to fat flower buds. Do this in late winter.
  • Peach trees: Peach trees should be pruned in late winter to early spring, removing half of the previous year’s growth and keeping the tree headed low.
  • Plum trees: Plum trees are best pruned in late winter or early spring. Cut all dead or diseased branches, and trim back rank growth moderately.
  • Roses: Trim rose bushes back in early spring, cutting out dead or weak growth and trimming branches or canes to just four or five buds. 

If you know you have a spring-flowering tree, you should wait to prune them until after they flower. Examples include pear trees, some cherry trees, magnolias, dogwoods and redbuds. Pruning before flowers bloom will significantly damage the bloom for that season.

Get all of the pruning supplies and equipment you need from Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. Contact us today with any questions you have about our products.