On January 8, 2017, the Arbutus Tree Service team set up a Christmas tree chipping station at Kingsgate Mall in Vancouver. Despite the weather, we had a steady flow of people, Christmas trees and hot chocolate, which made for a sociable and productive day. Everyone was in great spirits even when it was pouring rain. We chipped 292 trees and raised over $2,600 for Mount Pleasant Elementary! Such an incredible team! Thank you for the local support and we look forward to next year.
This fundraising event was a success due to the support of Kingsgate Mall, Collingwood community policing, the Local Parent Advisory Council and the Mount Pleasant Business Development Area.
At the request of one of our readers, we briefly explore the subject of fruit tree pruning with the specific question in mind, “Are fruit trees pruned differently from other trees and is there a difference in how you prune different species of fruit tree i.e. apples, pears, cherries and plums?”
This is a topical subject as now is the time of year to consider having some of your fruit trees pruned. Arbutus Tree Services will be pruning fruit trees for the next 6 weeks.
Pruning fruit trees is an art of its own within the tree pruning world. There are multiple methods for pruning fruit trees depending on the overall purpose of the tree, the species and the desired form (shape). With fruit trees, you can also prune the fruit to enhance fruit size and quality. If you would like more detailed information on the different techniques, please feel free to contact us
Why do we prune fruit trees?
Fruit trees are mostly grown for the production of fruit. Trees that are not pruned become less productive, so fruit trees are managed and cared for differently than other tree species. The main reason why we prune fruit trees is to maintain a healthy and productive crop of easily accessible fruit.
Pruning fruit trees aims to:
• Increase sunlight penetration to ripen the shoots and fruit.
• increase air movement to discourage diseases
• develops the structure of the tree so it can support the weight of the fruit
There is a range of different shapes for both aesthetics and ease of access to fruit. Unlike most other tree species, where we consider the natural form of the tree when we make pruning cuts, we do not necessarily follow the natural form of a fruit tree.
How are fruit trees pruned differently?
Young trees can be pruned and trained into particular shapes, while old trees that have already been trained or have been neglected are pruned either to maintain a shape or to restore a neglected, overgrown tree.
Generally speaking, stoned fruit trees such as cherries and plums do not require as precise pruning as apples or pears. However, they are more susceptible to infection from pruning cuts. Therefore, it is best to avoid winter pruning to limit the risk of silver leaf and bacterial canker. Ideally we prune stone fruit trees in early spring or in summer and after fruit production.
Apples and pears are more hardy to infection and can be pruned in winter or summer depending on your goals. In a nutshell, winter pruning promotes growth whereas summer pruning retards growth.
We generally aim to prune 10-20% of the tree and take no more than 30%. If a tree is healthy, the harder you prune it the more vigorous the regrowth, which ultimately defeats the purpose of pruning. The regrowth is often dense water shoots that can block sunlight, reduce air movement and are generally weak in their structure.
Should you be interested in reading more detail about the variety of ways your fruit trees can be managed, visit www.rhs.org
The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society
Each year in Vancouver, many fruit tree owners have surplus fruit that tends to sit and rot. If this sounds like your situation, you may be interested in The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project.
The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society is dedicated to harvesting and sharing neighbourhood fruit. Volunteers harvest surplus fruit from backyard fruit trees and redistribute it to community groups. In the past 16 years, they have picked nearly 50,000 pounds of fruit and redistributed it to community centres, neighbourhood houses, daycares and other community groups. They also pick fruit for you! To learn more, visit Vancouver Fruit Tree Project
Photos by Joel Spooner
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