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What you need:
  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning shears
  • By-pass loppers
These techniques can be used with most kinds of fruit trees. The best time to prune fruit trees is in late winter, before they leaf out. If your fruit tree has any weak lower limbs, remove them. This will cause the tree to put its energy into the larger upper limbs, which are likely to bear the majority of the fruit.
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Look for crossing branches and remove the smaller of the two, unless the smaller one is growing in a more desirable direction. Branches that touch will damage each other by constantly rubbing together.
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To remove damaged or diseased limbs, make pruning cuts just outside the branch collars (the slightly swollen bark at the base of the branch). If you remove a branch from a horizontal limb, angle the cut slightly so that it sheds water. The faster a cut dries after a rain, the less likely it is to become diseased. Use sharp pruning shears or a saw so it cuts the wood and doesn't tear it.
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Watersprouts are small limbs that grow vertically from large limbs. They should be removed because they are unlikely to bear fruit and will steal energy from the rest of the tree.
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Small buds originating on a main limb should also be removed.
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Finally, remove suckers (long, straight shoots) that appear on the trunk or at the base of the tree. Most fruit trees are grafted onto the roots of a different variety. The suckers you see are generally produced by the understock. If allowed to grow unchecked, they may overwhelm the top of the tree. You can remove suckers at any time of year.