It's time to prune my apple and pear trees, which I do every spring. I've...

Asked March 9, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

It's time to prune my apple and pear trees, which I do every spring. I've noticed that the stub or wound from last spring's pruning tends to produce 2 or 3 "water sprouts" the following summer. This means even more pruning the next year. Any suggestions on what I can do to minimize those growths? I try to prune as close to the main branch as I can get...

Washington County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Water sprouts and suckers are two types of vigorous shoot growth generally considered undesirable. Water sprouts occur along branches, usually at pruning sites. Suckers grow from the trunk or roots. Pruning and stress can stimulate water sprout growth which should be removed promptly. Check your trees frequently and any new growths can be easily rubbed off. Don't let them grow all season because they take energy from the tree and can destroy its shape.

You can try to minimize water sprouts by taking good care of your trees to minimize stress, but fruit trees need pruning and unfortunately this may stimulate sprout formation.

Here is a guide to proper pruning from Virginia Tech Extension

This is a short explanation of and guide to water sprouts from the University of Maryland Extension

Thank you for contacting Extension