Pruning Fruit Trees
Increase your harvest with proper pruning.
Late winter or early spring before growth begins is a great time to prune fruit trees. As growth begins in spring the wounds will close quickly, reducing the risk of disease and insects moving in through pruning cuts.
Prune to establish a strong framework on young trees or maintain the framework on established trees.
Start by removing any crossing, damaged or parallel branches on established trees. Prune out water sprouts - those branches that grow straight to the sky - and suckers at the base of the tree.
Make cuts flush with the branch bark collar, the swollen area at the base of the branch, where a branch joins another branch or above a healthy bud.
Leave the basic framework intact and remove no more than one fourth of the crown. Heavy pruning will encourage excess growth and that will mean more work for you next season.
A bit more information: Apples, pears, plums and many other fruit trees are often pruned in a central leader or modified central technique. A properly pruned central leader tree will look like a Christmas tree. With a modified central leader the side branches are about the same size as the central leader (trunk).