What mistakes many gardeners make when pruning fruit trees in the spring
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Pruning fruit trees is the most important process that should be done every year in the spring. It is through the pruning of old and dry shoots that the correct crown of the tree is formed. Even a novice gardener can carry out this procedure himself. However, it is important not to make the most popular mistakes. Many of them are also made by experienced owners.
1. Incorrect separation of fruit trees by time
The most common mistake among gardeners is the wrong timing of tree separation. Here it is simple on the one hand and not so simple on the other. Pruning too early is bad. Pruning too late is also not good. In the former case, the tree has a chance of suffering from cold weather and late frosts. Trimming the branches has the most negative effect on the possibility of banning fruit. In the second case, it is possible that part of the nutrients will escape, as there will be an active movement of sap.
In the middle belt, trees are best trimmed between March and April. The air temperature should be above e-5 degrees Celsius. In colder regions, pruning is not done before April. At the same time, it is not recommended to prune trees in May. This is too late.
False pruning tools for fruit trees
Many gardeners underestimate the fact that trees (as well as any other living organisms) can become ill due to the negative impact of harmful microorganisms. Therefore, it is very important to use the right tools. In general, the general rules are the same as for surgical interventions on the human body. But pruning shoots is exactly such an intervention. Therefore, the tool must be sharp and clean, and even better disinfected. For small branches we use a garden sector without fail. For large branches – a garden saw. You can also use loppers. The latter is especially useful if you are working at a high altitude.
3. the wrong wood for pruning
When pruning, it is also important to consider the age of the fruit tree. Depending on the age, the extent of the work is determined. If the tree is young and has not yet entered into a period of active fruiting, you should not prune it too much and often. It is enough to remove only the most problematic branches. But if the tree is already old, it is necessary to remove absolutely all dry and diseased shoots. Without proper pruning, such a plant will quickly and cease to bring a steady harvest.
4. Incorrect pruning angle of the branches
Last on the list, but by no means a mistake, is the wrong pruning angle. If you prune a branch incorrectly, a hollow can form. If it is left hollow, there is a good chance it will become a breeding ground for disease and a colony for wood pests.
When pruning branches up to 7 cm in diameter, the cut is made first from the bottom of the trunk and only then from the top. This allows the branch to be cut evenly without damaging the trunk. If the branch is not cut completely but only shortened, the cut is made at a 45 degree angle. In this case, the place should be chosen so that the top edge of the cut is 1-2 mm above the bud.
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Gardeners make common mistakes when pruning trees and shrubs
Experience shows that pruning plants in the garden should be talked about from the beginning, as amateur gardeners make serious mistakes in these basic mistakes, which are later difficult to correct and can lead to the death of the plant.
Choosing when to prune
One of the first mistakes is choosing the wrong time to work.
It is very important not to get the timing of pruning wrong.
In the southern regions, pruning of fruit (pome) and stone fruit crops begins as early as March or even February, when trees and shrubs are in a dormant period, and ends with the beginning of bud blossoming.
In northern areas early pruning is undesirable, because by the time of the beginning of the sap movement, and hence pruning, wound tissues begin to overgrow, the edges of the cut unwind, even smeared with garden varnish, die off due to severe frost, and cuttings slowly and strongly overgrow. Therefore, in Siberia and in the Urals, a later start of pruning is practiced. It is started when the average daily temperature is constantly above zero.
In northern regions, early pruning is undesirable.
In addition, the following rule is very relevant for northern horticulture: pruning of fruit trees should be carried out only after a relatively warm winter, when the trees show minimal signs of frost and winter desiccation. Pruning after severe winters is undesirable.
- Firstly, such late pruning, before leaf coloring, allows to saturate shoots with growth substances (auxins) – they are formed exactly in flower buds, and the more buds on the plant, the more growth substances in them after rain pruning for its further development;
- Secondly, in plants which start to “cry” (the same bunches) after pruning, pruning after bud blossoming allows to get rid of this phenomenon, providing an early beginning of growth and increasing the vegetation period by about 10 days.
The mistake of pruning large (skeletal) branches
There seems to be nothing easier than pruning a branch on a tree. However, especially in this “simple” case, the error rate is very high.
Firstly, gardeners often trim large branches (over 1-2 cm in diameter) with hacksaws, which are completely unsuitable for this purpose, whereas there are special tools. The right hacksaws have a narrow and fairly thin blade that allows you to work in forks, and medium-sized teeth that leave minimal tear marks on the branch being cut.
Use the right cutting tools
A separate conversation is about scoring on the edge of the cut branch. Here the amateur gardener must take into account: the tissue (burrs) on trees is poorly overgrown, so it is advisable even after pruning with a good garden saw to correct the edges of the cut with a very sharp (preferably refined) knife. And, of course, cover the cut with a gardening flat-blade, a layer of at least 2-3 mm, so that the cut does not roll up and fungal spores do not settle on it, which subsequently leads to the formation of a depression.
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Secondly, when a gardener has to remove a very large branch, it is better to do it in the following way: first make the cut about 30-50 cm higher than necessary, so that the bark (and sometimes the wood) is not torn, which later makes it difficult to overgrow the cut. This means that the first cut is to “unload” the branch, and the second is to make a quality cut without scoring.
And thirdly (very important!) the gardener must choose the right place to make the cut. If you look closely, you will easily find that a branch of a higher order of branching passes into a branch of a lower order through a small circular tributary. It is along the edge of this tributary that the cut should be made. If this rule is violated when pruning and the cut is made too close to the branch or trunk remaining on the plant, it becomes too large, slowly overgrowing, which can eventually lead to the death of the plant. If the cut is made “with a stump” – above the rootstock circle (even a few centimeters), then the wound left behind cannot heal quickly, and then – necrosis of blunt tissue, parasitic fungi on it, hollow and all other problems….
The gardener must choose the right interface, otherwise problems are inevitable.
Pruning a branch “with a stump” is sometimes justified in plants in which wound tissue forms slowly: cherry, plum, apricot, barnyard, lilac, etc. These plants can be pruned after two years. Pruning the stump in the first year – this leads to faster growth of the scion, and after a year or two you make the last cut along the edge of this scion, and the wound heals faster.
When pruning branches growing close to each other (forming an acute angle, a fork), it is often impossible to recognize a tributary ring. In this case trim one of the branches so that the cut ends at the lowest point of the fork and, most importantly, that the ironing saw at the moment of cutting is strictly vertical to the axis of the branch – in this position the area of the cut is minimal, which is very desirable.
Be careful, remember that mistakes made when pruning are often very difficult or even impossible to correct, and the price can be the health of the plants and the future harvest.