Question of the Week
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Thanks to Gail Allen who sent in this great picture and question!
Normally you would not prune any fruit trees right now, or any other tree very much as well, but fruit trees especially because you are pruning out some of the buds for next year. Especially, by pruning now, you encourage it to grow and send out new leaves. We don't want to encourage new growth as we head into our first freeze.
However, Gail's tree has very heavy limbs and it does need a lot of correcting. You'll notice that it is growing a lot on one side with several branches on the ground. So, Gail does need to bring this tree back into balance. She's got a hazardous situation too, since it would be easy to trip over those low branches.
So, here's what she can do: prune the limbs that are a hazard. BUT: prune them all the way to the source. In other words, prune back to the branch they're on, or to the trunk.
By pruning to the branch source or trunk, you won't encourage the tree to branch further and break new buds.
In the dormant months, she can prune more heavily to re-shape her tree. This will sacrifice some fruit for next year, but will be better for the tree in the future.