When to Trim Fruit Trees | Colorado | Front Range Arborists

When to Trim Fruit Trees

Early and regular tree pruning enhances the health and appearance of your fruit trees, and the fruit they bear.

When a tree is not properly trimmed, it is more susceptible to disease, and limb breakage due to storms or the strain of fruit load. The sooner in the life of your trees, you begin to “train” them with routine pruning, the healthier they’ll be throughout their lifespan.

Proper tree pruning will improve sunlight exposure and air circulation, enhance growth and improve the structural integrity of the fruit tree so it stays strong. Improved air circulation will also minimize the threat of fungus growth. To keep your fruit tree thriving and bearing healthy fruit, it is important to know how to determine when your tree needs to be trimmed.

Trees that are pruned regularly have proven to be better able to sustain the rigors of high winds, heavy rains, and snow. Airflow through the tree canopy will meet less resistance, making your trees more stable as well as healthier.

Begin Early in the Life of the Tree

As a young tree develops, pruning away limbs that are unhealthy or interfere with others will strengthen the remaining branches. Early pruning avoids the risk of exposure to infectious disease as the tree ages which might require larger limb removal.

A new tree will need at least one year before attempting to trim away limbs, so it can draw an adequate supply of nutrients from its foliage, to promote growth and establish a robust root system. Choose limbs that are well spaced and healthy, for your fruit tree, and trim away the rest. Work toward an aesthetic and structural balance between limbs.

What to Look For

Tree forks where limbs have emerged too close together, causing bark inclusion, will weaken over time and threaten your fruit tree’s overall health. Removing these limbs will prevent damage from falling branches while promoting a healthier tree and fruit.

If you find limbs growing together at a sharp “V” fork in the fruit tree, it’s advisable to trim these from the tree before they have a chance to weaken and damage property or succumb to the disease. Note any dead, damaged or crossing limbs, and mark them for pruning as well.

Older trees should not be trimmed more than is necessary to sustain healthy limbs and fruit. If you choose to top an older tree to stimulate new growth, there is a risk of exposure to infectious disease. This is especially true in local species of pear and apple trees.

We recommend trimming only what is needed to maintain adequate spacing for tree health, and fire mitigation. For the latter, you should remove limbs fewer than 10 feet from the ground and keep the canopies of adjacent trees spaced 10 feet apart.

What Time of Year Is Best for Pruning?

Fruit trees will enter a state of dormancy in late fall. Trimming is best done from winter to early spring, so the tree may heal during the warmer months. This will also eliminate potential fuel before the time of year when wildfire risk is highest. During dormancy, from late fall to early spring, your fruit tree will be less active and sap flow will be diminished, facilitating a cleaner, healthier trim.

Identifying limbs that need to be pruned and the job of trimming itself are made easier when the tree is bare of fruit and foliage. Also, the scent of pruned away limbs won’t attract pests, such as bark beetles, when the work of trimming your fruit trees is reserved for the winter months.

When your fruit tree has already been trimmed coming into the spring and summer months, it will be better able to use the resources it receives from nature to stay healthy. Vital nutrients will no longer be diverted by unhealthy limbs, so they can be better used by your tree to bring you healthy fruit.

Tree pruning during the colder months will also reduce the spread of blight. It is also recommended that pruning equipment is sanitized when pruning trees infected with blight to reduce the chances of transferring the fungus to unaffected trees.

Safe and Efficient Tree Service

If you have questions about your landscaping and want to know how to get the most from your fruit trees, call us at Front Range Arborists. Our arborists have the training, experience, and equipment to safely and efficiently handle all your landscaping needs.

Our tree pruning service will rejuvenate your established trees and give a healthy head start to your new plantings. Improve the appearance of your property, remove unsafe and unhealthy limbs, and invigorate your trees and other vegetation efficiently and cost-effectively. Call Front Range Arborists for a free estimate on a professional tree pruning today.


Find out more about how Front Range Arborists can help provide services to residential, commercial, and municipal institutions with all of our Tree Services: