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Everyone usually looks good after a haircut, and so should your fruit tree. We have all seen some pretty bad haircuts on both people and trees.

If I could give you one thing to remember while pruning your fruit tree it is to prune to an outside bud. That should be your mantra as you slowly proceed with this annual event. Okay, I know you are scratching your head and asking, “What is she talking about?”

Take a look at the branches of the tree. Pruning is much easier done now rather than later. Once the leaves come out it gets difficult to see the true picture. Notice how some branches grow towards the center of the tree while others grow outwards or away from the center? And the buds along those branches will also grow in the direction they are facing. You want to always prune above a branch, or bud, that is facing outwards.

To understand why this is so important you need to know the reason for pruning. It is important to keep an open center within the tree. This allows sun and air to circulate, resulting in less disease and good fruit production.

By pruning to an outside bud you prevent a center that is full of criss-crossed branches. These outside buds will form horizontal branches that allow for good fruit production. Take your time between cuts, step back and take a look at your progress.

Another easy rule to remember is to first remove all dead and diseased branches, and water shoots or suckers. Suckers don’t produce fruit so they are just competing for water and nutrients.

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