Pruning Your Utah Fruit Trees
Most fruit trees are semi-dwarf, which means they can still grow between 15-25 feet tall and wide. This could be a desired size for some trees (perhaps cherry), but for optimal fruit production, keep your fruit trees pruned annually.
There is no right size, only preference. Most orchard growers keep the trees from 6 feet to 10 feet tall. But keep in mind, to reach and harvest the fruit, you will need to reach the top. Question to consider are how easy is it to maneuver, how much time does the pruning vs the gathering take, how does the tree fit withing your landscape and will you have to carry a ladder to harvest the fruit? You will want to keep the height within a manageable footage.
Spray a dormant spray in the spring for the trees to easily come out for spring. Also spray insecticide, either organic or poison, in the early morning or late evening, in early spring, every few weeks, to protect the fruit from insects.
Reasons for pruning fruit trees:
- Larger growing fruit
- Better fruit production (the tree only produces so much sugar and all fruit on it will have to divide that fruit evenly- too much fruit means bitter fruit)
- Easier reach to harvest
- Easier to maintain pest control
How to prune fruit trees:
- Cut in a diagonal to allow moisture to run off instead of remain and gather bacteria harmful to your plants
- Remove all dead limbs
- Remove all limbs growing inward
- Thin limbs that rub against each other
- Thin limbs that do not allow light to filter through to the lower limbs
- Prune the top of the tree to desired height
- Prune excess limbs for optimal fruit production
- Do not heavily prune any shrub or tree unless under extreme reasons of expert advice, preference of the shrub, or diseased plant (removal might be recommended). Most plants will not endure heavy pruning and will either take a long time to recover or will die