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When to prune fruit trees?

  • Botanical Garden
English

In early spring, after deep winter and up until the buds open (approximately mid-February to mid-April), annual maintenance pruning opens up the tree to air and light and renews the fruit-bearing branches. For mature trees, spring pruning should not exceed 15% to 20% of the total branches (maximum 30% for diseased or infested trees). When a tree is pruned heavily, numerous vigorous, unproductive shoots will form on the branches (suckers) and at the base of the trunk (sprouts).

In summer, around the development of the fruit (approximately mid-June to late July), pruning consists of removing sprouts and suckers. This should not exceed 10% of branches.

In fall and wintertime, it is preferable to avoid pruning other than to remove dead, diseased or dangerous branches.

These maximums apply to apple trees. Pear, cherry and plum trees should be pruned more lightly (never more than 15% of branches).

At the Montréal Botanical Garden, fruit trees are pruned in early March. If you have not yet had the chance to prune your fruit trees, you still have time to do so before the buds open. Be careful of the bark, which tears easily. Avoid climbing your trees.

To learn more, read our section about fruit trees pruning.


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