Davis: It’s time to start thinking about pruning fruit trees

It seems a little early to start thinking about many spring gardening activities, but it is starting to be the opportune time to prune fruit trees.

On Monday, March 12, at 5:30 p.m., the Clark County Extension Service will host a fruit tree pruning workshop. The plan is to have a hands-on workshop where each participant will have the opportunity to learn how to prune an apple or peach tree.

The workshop will be at Beech Springs Orchard, 4776 Old Boonesboro Road, unless the weather is too bad. If it is raining too much, the class will be at the Clark County Public Library, 370 S. Burns Ave.

There are many reasons to prune fruit trees. Most homeowners prune to manage the size of the tree. However, training the growth of the tree where you want it to go is just as important. That is why it is important to know a few basics of fruit tree pruning. It is important to know what to prune out of fruit trees after considering their age and stage of development.

Another important reason to prune your fruit trees is sunlight penetration. Having sunlight penetrate the canopy of the tree is essential for fruit development. Pruning will promote larger and better quality fruit. Most often, pruning fruit trees will also result in more usable fruit as well thanks to better disease prevention associated with pruning.

Pruning is essential for disease management on fruit trees. It increases air flow and reduces moisture levels in the tree canopy creating a less favorable environment for disease development. Spring pruning is a great way to prune out disease limbs or branches. Pruning fruit trees also allows for greater coverage of fungicides when they are used on trees, making them more effective.

At the upcoming workshop we will discuss in more detail the benefits of pruning fruit trees, how to prune trees and also cover some basic fruit tree care throughout the year. For more information about this workshop or to register, contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682.

David Davis is one of the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service Agents for Agriculture and Natural Resources.