All gardeners know that pruning fruit trees is better and safer in the spring, usually at the end of February and March when there are no serious frosts. But still far away before the vegetation starts.
In fact, besides spring pruning, you can also do summer pruning, which is usually done for young trees, and it includes their formation.
In this article, we will discuss the rules and techniques for pruning fruit trees in summer.
WHY DO I NEED SUMMER PRUNING?
Pruning fruit trees in the summer brings the fruiting period closer, creates a full canopy, and promotes maturation and fuller formation of young shoots.
Very often, summer pruning should be done on trees that have been frozen. If individual branches are frozen, it will be difficult to distinguish them from healthy branches in early spring.
Frozen shoots may lag behind during the warm bud period. If the shoots above them open later, such shoots cannot be touched, but if the shoots do not open at all, such shoots need to be cut off in a ring.
Only after waiting for summer to start is it possible to know which shots are badly frosted and which are not, and then you can remove them.
Note: that summer pruning should be considered as a supplement to spring pruning and not as the main pruning.
Buds on fruit trees can be asexual, sexual, or mixed, but it is more common for shoots to form from buds.
Young shoots are necessary for the plant, sometimes they are positioned for success, sometimes they grow deep into the canopy, thickening it or growing vertically upward into a wolf with no fruit on it.
You should know that the greater the angle of the branch, the better for the yield and vice versa, the smaller the angle, the worse for the yield. If the buds are positioned in such a way that they must be removed later if they sprout shoots, it is better to remove this bud immediately.
The buds are removed on the shoot with an ordinary garden knife. The bud should be carefully cut with the knife, and where it is located, it must be covered with garden varnish.
It is important to note that at the base of each bud there are additional so-called dormant buds, usually two, which will awaken and start growing after the main buddies, so you should remove them.
The buds should always be removed with a small piece of bark, but it is important not to damage the bark layer, as this is the only way for the wound to heal quickly.
Removing the buds will have an indirect benefit in addition to the obvious one: the nutrients will be directed to the more successful buds. The bud wiping method can be applied to two to three-year-old seedlings.
Such plants usually produce shoots, and on older plants with a mature canopy, it is difficult to know which buds to remove and which to keep. In addition, you will have to remove a large number of unwanted buds, which is difficult, so it is best not to do this on mature trees.
This method is the same as the operation performed on vegetable crops. In the case of fruit crops, the basic idea of the operation remains unchanged; it also includes cutting green shoots, i.e. shoots before they become wood.
Usually, such operations are carried out in summer, allowing to perform on both seedlings and adult plants.
First of all, it is necessary to determine the direction of growth of the shoots and the necessity of their presence in the canopy.
If the shoots are growing in a way that will definitely thicken the canopy in the future, they can be broken off completely if they come from the main branches, or the green tips of the existing shoots can be removed. You should always use garden spray paint or garden varnish to isolate the area where you removed the green shoots.
This technique is usually performed on young shoots, but instead of removing the entire young shoot as in double stem planting, the tip is cut off when the shoot is quite short, to a length of 2inch (5cm) or 4inch (10cm) if quite long.
This method will prevent the shoot from growing in length and will stimulate its maturation and thickening. Thus, by autumn, the shoots will certainly become more woody and strong and will be able to withstand the adhesion of the wet snow and will not break later under the weight of the harvest. Pruning is used by both private gardeners and large farmers.
This technique is simple, but it effectively regulates the development of the skeletal limbs of young fruit trees. The suppression of branch growth, in addition to improving their characteristics, helps to bring about a more harmonious development of the canopy.
In most cases, the pruned branches grow on the south side of the canopy, where they are longer than those growing on the north side of the canopy, and this method allows an equal length of branches to grow on both sides of the canopy.
If you prune in July, you may experience a second growth in June and have to prune again.
If you do it manually, use scissors or pruning shears. To avoid the transfer of infection from an infected tree to a healthy one, you should wipe the blades of the shears or pruning shears with a cloth soaked in alcohol after a tree has been harvested.
This method involves breaking off or cutting young annual shoots from the canopy of fruit trees that grow at an acute angle to the canopy and woefully vertical, or young shoots that develop deep in the canopy and will lead to canopy densification in the future.
If you do this in June, they can be easily removed with garden shears or even by hand; you can even use loppers. If you remove them in July, they will have time to partially harden and you will have to cut them off with a sharp pair of pruning shears.
By breaking the semi-woody shoots, you run the risk of scratching the bark. Once you have removed the shoot, you should definitely apply varnish or garden paint to the cut.
Usually, once the shoot has reached 2inch (5cm) in length, it can be cut or broken off. Even at this stage of shoot development, it is easy to see if you need shoots.
This technique is applicable to both young and old fruit trees. Its necessity is determined by the fact that few or no fruits are formed on vertical shoots and on shoots that leave the trunk at an acute angle. Bending these branches to the maximum angle of inclination to the trunk will form crops on these branches, which will become mature fruit-bearing branches.
It is best to bend the shoots backward in the summer. This is when the shoots are as pliable as possible and bending will be avoided (or at least the risk of bending will be minimal). Usually, the shoots are bent back by tying twine, sturdy string, or wire. When doing so, be sure to place a piece of rubber under the area where the wire is attached for the shot.
Next, the wire or twine should be attached to an adjacent stronger branch or to the trunk of the tree to achieve the desired angle of separation between the branch and the trunk. It remains to hold the wire in place and to ensure that no pulling occurs where the wire or twine touches the shoot.
Usually, after four to five months, the branch will take the position you gave it and bend it back. After this time, you can loosen the rope or wire and see the results – if the branch stays in the position the rope gave it, the rope or wire can be completely loosened.
Conclusion. The following are examples of the most common summer pruning techniques. If performed in the way we have described, the risk of negative phenomena will be minimized. In general, one should not be afraid of summer pruning, as a rule, during this period the plant is unable and the future removal of green shoots will positively affect the growth and development of the fruit tree canopy.
By the way, if we talk about the effects of summer pruning and spring pruning on fruit trees, it becomes clear that summer pruning of fruit trees is more tolerable than spring pruning.
Therefore, it can be concluded that summer pruning is both safe and beneficial for plants and should not be neglected.