How to prune stone fruit trees in summer

Pruning fruit trees improve yield and quality.
Winter pruning when trees are dormant promotes vigorous growth, so prune then to encourage a good basic structure for a young tree or when trying to adjust the shape of a mature tree.
Summer pruning inhibits growth so now is the best time to maintain a tree’s shape and to keep the tree to a reasonable size for netting and harvesting.
Summer is also a good time to prune stonefruit so they can heal while still in active growth – the best time is immediately after fruiting, especially for apricots.
Tino shows how he approaches pruning on a greengage plum (Prunus domestica) at The Patch.
Before starting, make sure your secateurs and loppers are clean of fruit sap, which can harbour diseases, and sharpened, as blunt tools can rip and damage branches. It’s a good idea to have a small spray bottle of methylated spirits with you when pruning, so you can spray your tools between trees and avoid spreading diseases.
Become familiar with what a fruit spur looks like – a clustered rosette of buds – to make sure you’re not cutting off all your harvest!
What to do:
1. Remove the suckers – produced by trees as a response to damaged roots. Not only do suckers make it hard to access the tree, but they draw away energy. Cut them as low as possible so they don’t reshoot.
2. Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches.
3. Remove any branches that are touching the ground.
4. Trim off any inward-facing branches that will reduce airflow in the centre of the tree, making the tree more prone to pests and diseases.
5. Shorten other branches. Tino shortens long, lanky growth that might break off if covered in heavy fruit, but he cuts back to a new bud that will produce new growth. He earmarks another side shoot he will cut back to next year.
6. If you have thin branches (pencil thickness) that then divide again and are carrying lots of fruit spurs Tino recommends reducing the load by cutting off one side of the divided section. This is called singulation. It reduces the risk of the branch breaking under the weight of fruit and means the fruit that does grow will be slightly larger.

7. Cut back long, vertical growth quite hard – this won’t harm the tree and will make it easier to cover the tree with netting if necessary.

USEFUL LINKS:
https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/fruit-tree-maintenance/9429572
https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/pruning-dwarf-fruit-trees/11101148
https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/fruit-tree-pruning/9432950

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17 Comments

  1. EVERYTHING FOR EVERY ONE on April 25, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Very interesting information, I am doing farming in Pakistan samll level

  2. Halfmicron Filter on April 25, 2021 at 12:31 am

    Hey Tino

    I have a huge mature cherry plum tree on apricot rootstock. It fruits heavily with sweet red fruit but it’s too high and impossible to manage or net. How hard and far can I cut this back – I want to get it back to under 2.5m ? The main branches are up to 100mm diameter.

  3. Candis Firchau on April 25, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Are suckers always the result if root damage, or could they also be from too much water?

  4. New Mind Garden on April 25, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Beautiful

  5. hemsty2 on April 25, 2021 at 12:40 am

    is plum included in the group of stone fruit trees? you didn’t mention plum at 6:15

  6. ASMR Nessy on April 25, 2021 at 12:45 am

    Thank you for the video 🙂

  7. Alexander Roland on April 25, 2021 at 12:48 am

    Gardening Australia

  8. irishkazolotse on April 25, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Thank you very much, now i know to be bold!!!!

  9. Kassandra Jeffery on April 25, 2021 at 12:51 am

    Thanks so much for this video! I’ve moved into a rental with a couple of tall plum and nectarine trees that clearly haven’t been looked after in such a way for years, if ever. Now I know what to do to cut them down and help them regain better health as well as produce bigger/better fruit next season. The plum trees themselves have grown so tall and clearly haven’t been pruned for years that the fruit are many (covering my ground as we speak) but about the size of a large grape. The birds are loving them, though! XD

  10. Inside the Garden Wall on April 25, 2021 at 12:55 am

    Videos of Gardening Australia don’t seem to include automatic closed captioning which would tremendously help people like me. Please consider adding this feature for future videos. THANKS!!!

  11. Mary Playford on April 25, 2021 at 12:57 am

    Tino, thank you for identifying the fruiting spurs. Great pruning tips too.

  12. Gilberto Mendes on April 25, 2021 at 1:03 am

    I have a fig tree, could you show how can I prune? Thanks 🙏🏻

  13. Hannah R on April 25, 2021 at 1:11 am

    Awesome work! very informative, Are you able to do a segment on two way grafted trees? or multiple? Thank you 🙂

  14. Den Gibson on April 25, 2021 at 1:13 am

    Very informative vid thanks mate, your trees look very healthy, a credit to your connection to the earth.. Well done, thanks…
    Regards D

  15. evan on April 25, 2021 at 1:15 am

    Good to get that information about the apricots. I have a tree that’s about 3/4 rootstock as shoots were allowed to grow from below the graft. After taking much of that growth away in Winter, it’s all just grown back with a vengeance and the actual tree has done very little. So I’m itching to completely remove the rootstock section as soon as possible.

  16. Amien FND on April 25, 2021 at 1:19 am

    Only problem is pruning trees end of Feb or March, they just grow back what you cut off before winter. You need to hold back end of Winter and wait till the next year, but you do get more fruit. Winter probably just do a light clean up.

  17. agb0012000 on April 25, 2021 at 1:20 am

    Wow, what an excellent video. It was very informative. You answered all the questions I had. Thank you so much for taking the time to make and post this video.

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