Properly Pruning Fruit Trees

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated December 27, 2021)

Just as with any tree, pruning fruit trees can often be a daunting task to a beginning gardener. Keep in mind though that it only seems to be daunting because you haven't done it yet. There are some very simple guidelines that anyone can follow to ensure that they properly prune their fruit trees, and it is a good idea to follow them. Pruning does more than simply make your tree look great. It can help promote the general health of the plant, and encourage a great crop of fruit. Simply follow these guidelines to ensure that you are pruning fruit trees the best possible way.

  • Annual. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to do your major pruning in the early spring time. This is when you can easily tell the difference between branches that are healthy, and those that are dead, diseased, or dying. The easiest way to tell is to take a look at the branches, and if there are leaves blooming, then the branch is healthy. If there isn't, or if there isn't as many leaves as there should be, then remove the branch.
  • Seasonal. Know what type of fruit tree you are dealing with. While there is a general health guideline for pruning trees, many fruit trees require a specific pruning time to encourage growth. For example, if you are growing sour cherries, then you want to begin pruning in the midsummer, right after fruiting. Compare this to the best time to prune for pear trees, which is in late winter for bush type trees.
  • Proper tools. Before you begin pruning fruit trees, make sure that you have the proper tools for the job. Typically, all you will need is a pair of sharp pruning shears. Check to make sure that the blades are sharp; otherwise you run the risk of causing lasting, and permanently damaging your trees. For example, a pair of dull pruning shears can allow harmful bacteria or fungus to enter the tree and cause the entire branch to rot or even die.
  • Proper shape. Believe it or not, there is an actual shape that you should try to get your trees to grow into. Encouraging your fruit trees to grow in the funnel shape can help to dramatically improve the overall health of your tree. The overall design of this shape is to have the taper (or narrow) portion of the funnel pointing to the ground. This shape encourages as many branches as possible to get sunlight, and help ensure that healthy young branches don't get overshadowed by the older healthier branches.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Cutting through the Dealer Hype

Dealing with dealer hype can be an extremely frustrating experience for anyone buying a car. Here are some tools for you ...

Discover More

Burnt Popcorn Smell

While microwave popcorn can be a wonderful treat, when you forget to stop the microwave at the right time the results are ...

Discover More

Electrical Tool Kit Necessities

Whether you are going to be simply running a few wires, installing a new electrical outlet, or doing some really major ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Planting Pear Trees

Planting pear trees is a great method for not only adding a bit of beauty and elegance to your landscape, but also a way ...

Discover More

Fruit Trees in the Backyard

When planting fruit trees, make sure to give them plenty of room to grow, since wide root systems may damage your home. ...

Discover More

Grafting Fruit Trees

If you are looking to increase the reproductive viability of your fruit trees, then you may want to look into grafting. ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)