When it comes to maintaining the shape of trained pear and apple trees, summer pruning is surely one of the most effective measures. Getting these trees pruned during the summer months is extremely important to ensure that they maintain their eye-catching shape in form of espaliers or cordons. Here, it must be noted that untrained trees generally don’t need summer pruning. However, nowadays, as most pear and apple trees are dwarfed, pruning during the summer months has become a must.
There are a couple of things you must keep in mind. First, if you have tip-bearing trees (trees that get fruits forming at tips of their branches and not all through the branches in short spurs) make sure you call a Seattle tree service for pruning them. Those trees need to be pruned more cautiously; and only a trained and experienced pruning professional knows how to finish these jobs flawlessly. The second thing you must keep in mind is that trees that appear to be a weakling should never be trimmed. That’s because the act of cutting down foliage decreases the food factory of a tree, which can cause further harm to trees that are already weaklings.
This article is about pruning spur-bearing apple or pear trees. Spur-bearing trees are more widely grown than the tip-bearing ones and we feel it would be wise to begin with something that’s more common.
Summer pruning and its impact
Summer pruning for your pear and apple trees due to the obvious benefits it offers. Summer pruning helps both in improving the current year’s crop and enhancing the quality of the upcoming year’s harvest. Check the trees in your garden carefully before you start pruning. Newer shoots i.e. the ones that have grown during the current year would definitely be quite soft. These shoots also tend to be vigorous and leafy and might overshadow fruits grown around them.
Fruits mature better when they are not under the shade. When they are not under the shade, more sunshine and air can reach them increasing their sweetness and size, improving their color, and preventing them from being infested by pests. In addition, picking ripe fruits also becomes much easier with leaves not guarding them. This makes it absolutely mandatory to prune those newly grown shoots.
Another magical effect of pruning those soft shoots is a bigger harvest in the following year. It’s natural that trees would produce fruiting spurs every year. However, when pruned during the summer, they start producing even more. It has been found that if most shoots from the current year’s growth gets trimmed the majority of the left behind buds are forced to turn into fruit buds as opposed to leaf buds.
The process of summer pruning pear and apple trees
Midsummer (for people in the northern hemisphere the months of July and August are considered to be midsummer) is the best time to carry out summer pruning. However, you should start a planning a bit earlier than that; a large part of the planning will be about examining the trees from the start of the summertime. You can begin the job a bit earlier if three trees you are looking to trim are very advanced.
Check how much your trees have grown during the current year; get the inspection done by a professional tree service provider in your area if you don’t have enough experience on the subject. It’s true that we have suggested you to trim the new shoots, but only after allowing them to grow up to a certain point. Never target shoots that have small, light green colored leaves. The shoots you should trim are the ones that only have fully grown adult leaves.
The next thing you should check before beginning to prune is how much the wood at the shoot’s bottom (the place where the shoot meets the trunk of the tree) has grown. Go ahead with the job only if the wood has turned stiff. If you mistakenly prune wood which is yet to become hard enough, you will soon find more leafy shoots arriving.
For a shoot to be considered for pruning it must be longer than 23 cm or 9 inches. Shoots shorter than that should ideally be ignored. That’s because shoots shorter than 9 inches would most likely develop fruit buds automatically.
Pruning often means reducing the length of the leafy shoots to 3 inches. Ideally, it should bear two to three buds. The cut should always be made exactly above a leaf or bud. The shoot can be cut down to make it just 3 mm long; however, that’s not a job that can be done without training. So, if you are looking to take such a courageous step, make sure you hire a professional Seattle tree service.
When it comes to pruning those water shoots (they grow after hard winter prunes), the rules to be followed are a bit different. Cut those shoots back to their connecting branch. Are you wondering how you would identify the water shoots? These are shoots that grow upwards from the tree’s main branches and are extremely vigorous. Trimming them short is essential as they draw significant amount of energy from trees. Water shoots should be left alone only if you want them to turn into permanent branches for replacing the tree’s damaged branches or giving the tree a more attractive appearance.
If you have always taken proper care of your trees and ensured that the pruning jobs are carried out only by a professional Seattle tree service, all the shoots of the current year would grow only from the tree’s main trunk and branches. If that’s not the case, you might see new shoots arising from shoots, which were either not pruned at all or not pruned properly (during the last year). When pruning is not done following all the above mentioned guidelines, the chances of getting leafy growth (this can happen even after proper pruning of shoots, but such situations are rare) becomes higher than the chances of having fruiting spurs. If you face such situations, prune the shoots back to a bud located exactly above the area from where the current year’s growth has begun.
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