Time for pruning fruit trees

Asked December 28, 2012, 5:45 PM EST

What is the best time to prune our apple,pear,peach,nectarine,and sweet cherry trees? All are 2-3 years old and semi-dwarf.

Jackson County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your very timely question. Jackson County is right in the middle of the dormant
season for fruit trees, and the varieties you mentioned are pruned when they are totally dormant (i.e., no or few remaining leaves; next year's buds visible but not yet swollen). Any time from now to mid February would be acceptable. Be sure to remove any remaining leaves (rake up and destroy all fallen leaves from under the tree) and any "mummies" (fruit that wasn't picked or didn't develop and is still hanging on the tree). Any dead or damaged wood should be removed first. Young trees do not need as much pruning as a mature tree; the type of tree also dictates how much the tree is pruned: peaches, apricots, and nectarines fruit on one year- old wood so they would receive different treatment than apples or pears, which fruit on "spurs" or shoots that form on two year-old wood. Cherries are also spur-bearers and need relatively little pruning other than to remove dead or diseased wood or to shorten long shoots. An excellent resource, complete with detailed illustrations, is newly revised "Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard" available online from Oregon State University Extension: (extension.oregonstate.edu/publications) Search for PNW400 or by :fruit tree pruning. As you know, pruning is very important to the health of your tree, and getting it right ensures you of the best crops.