When to Prune

Here is a calendar to help guide you through the pruning seasons.

When to Prune
Photo: iStock

Pruning calendar

Late winter
Dormant-prune deciduous fruit trees such as peach, nectarine, apple, pear (always lightly), cherry and European and Japanese plums.
Cut back autumn-fruiting raspberries to within a few centimetres of the ground.
Begin pinching back cordons and espaliers and rubbing out unwanted vegetative buds to maintain the desired shape.
Prune blueberry bushes from the end of harvest through to the following bud break by removing or cutting back old canes. Late winter pruning is ideal.
Cut back canes of any newly planted raspberries and hybrid blackberries.

Spring
Prune apricots in very early spring and before blossom opens.
Prune citrus; remove dead or diseased wood and crossed rubbing branches. Remove one limb every three to four years to improve light penetration (the flower bud loss has little effect on yield).
Prune passionfruit vines in mid- to late spring.
Continue to shape cordons and espaliers during spring by rubbing out vegetative buds that would form unwanted branches and spoil the established shape.
Thin the small fruits on early stone and pome fruit trees to improve harvest quality.

Summer
In the early part of summer, continue judicious fruit thinning on late-season deciduous fruit varieties.
Prune gooseberry bushes and white currants after fruiting has finished.
Carry out summer pruning on deciduous fruit trees after harvesting in late summer. Only do dwarfed varieties if necessary.
Cut out raspberry canes that have fruited.

Autumn
Complete any summer pruning of deciduous pome and stone fruit trees in early autumn.
Cut down the shoots of blackberry hybrids that have fruited.
Complete pruning of white currant and gooseberry bushes, and prune red and blackcurrant bushes.

Other
Tropical trees are usually pruned immediately after fruiting. In the first year this will simply consist of cutting back the leader to about 1 m high. Thereafter, make one thinning cut annually by removing a single limb; this will keep the tree at a manageable size.
Bananas are cut to the ground after fruiting. Each plant will be replaced by an emerging sucker.
Avocados are pruned lightly immediately after harvest. In the home garden trim only one side or the top of the tree annually. Rotate the part that you trim each year to maximise fruit production.

 

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