After planting cold frames and polytunnels with cool tolerant crops, we picked a cloudy day when the trees are not frozen, the sky is overcast and not too sunny, to take inventory of our fruit trees. In late winter when the days get longer and warmer (and prior to buds displaying new growth) are good choices to exercise this job.
Selectively removing branches in conjunction with the natural growth pattern of the tree offers a natural beauty and supports better productivity and overall general health to the tree. For example, if our apple trees are left unpruned, branches will sway and rub and break resulting in poor fruiting yields. By pruning and opening up areas, removing these shoots that are growing and intercepting each other will promote and encourage higher fruit yields and this will help to stimulate and bring buds to life.
Our action plan is to remove any dead or dry branches and any sucker branches at the base of the tree. We will also remove cross branches and low branches and any thick or dense area to allow more light and air to the centre of the tree. You may need to examine composition and balance to assess further proportion and thin accordingly.
Trees have a natural chemical response by sealing off the area after being pruned. This barrier protects them from getting disease organisms causing any life threatening dangers to the tree.