So here you are sitting in Sonoma County this Fall-Winter and your trees have lost their leaves. Now what? Admit it, pruning fruit trees and shrubs is always the last on the list of to-dos for all of us, and if it gets done or not is of no real consequence. What seems a momentous task is actually very easy and is important for the health and look of your trees. Plus bonus points for getting you outside for some fresh air.
I will focus on trees as that is what my expertise lays in and you can dig deeper into the net for specific on your own particular tree or shrub. What to prune? Check out the diagrams included:
A. Suckers that grow from the roots or trunk B. Limbs that sag or grow too close to the ground (or your head) C. Branches that have steep angles from the trunk D. Water-sprouts off of the main branches (scaffolding) E. Dead, diseased or broken limbs F. Branches that grow parallel or are too close to each other G. Branches that cross and rub against each other H. Limbs that compete with the trees central leader.
Timing, the best time is Late Winter-Early Spring when all of the leaves have drooped and the plants are in their dormant period. This will help to reduce any stress on the tree. What I have done in the past to my own trees is a two to three year process of thinning and shaping. When I first moved into my Santa Rosa home the trees had not been pruned for years. After two years my trees were outperforming all of the neighbors trees and they are paying gardeners to maintain theirs! I will admit they looked like hell the first year, so I took it easy on the thinning to shape the tree.
If you need more information just search the web – there are plenty of informative sites.
Cheers! And Happy Trimming.