Pruning Organic Apple Trees
By Heather Kaiser, Rodale Institute Intern
“What’s all the commotion about pruning?“
Pruning your fruit trees every winter is essential, but when exactly should you begin pruning? What is the correct way to prune? And how often should they be pruned? Since 1981, we have been researching the best methods for organic apple orcharding here on our research farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Our researchers have developed decades of data on the science behind organic apple production, including pruning.
The best time to prune your fruit trees is right after the coldest part of winter is over, which is now! Pruning is important because it removes the dead and damaged branches from the tree; this helps prevent insects and decay from entering and infecting the tree. Pruning also helps to stimulate the growth and development of fruit buds. Since pruning is so important to the trees growth, it is crucial to learn the correct way to prune and which tools to use. After this cold and snowy winter, trees are under a lot of stress from the weight of snow and ice. These branches are weighed down and can break under the amount of stress. Pruning prevents these weaker branches from breaking and harming the rest of the tree.
On March 14, Rodale Institute is holding a fruit tree pruning workshop where you will learn how to prune with the correct tools and then be able to walk through our apple orchard and practice your new skill!
For more information and to register, visit the Organic Orchards I: Fruit tree pruning for pest and disease control workshop page on the Rodale Institute website. We can’t wait to see you there!