Yet another pruning question
Well it is pruning time up at my place (8200' elevation in the CO Rockies), and I have been reading up here and other places on the latest pruning advise. Unfortunately I seem to have broken the cardinal rule of "never ask more than one expert," because there seems to be quite a few varying opinions out there on pruning techiques ;-)
So here are my questions, if folks can offer answers:
1. I have quite a few apples/pears/cherries which were planted last spring. Our growing season is short, which might influence the answer on this. I am wondering whether to start pruning the new trees this spring or wait another year? (I had planned on waiting a year on the trees that did not have good growth last year)
2. A couple of the trees were badly formed when planted (forks, low branches, etc). I did not prune at planting time in order to give the tree as much leaf area as possible. I am leaning towards doing some shaping of these trees this year. Yes or no?
3. There may have been some winter die back on the end branches of some of the trees (not as bad as I first thought a few weeks ago, but definitely there on a few). I was thinking of waiting until the trees leaf out (or at least bud swell) to do any pruning; so that I can be sure what's still alive and not. However pruning non-dormant trees seems to be a controversy. What are the advantages/disadvantages of doing it? Suggestions?
4. I have some more mature trees, which have not been pruned in a few years. Is there a rule of thumb as to what percentage of the branches can be safely removed per year? And when to do this on these older trees (when still dormant or after leaf out)?
Thanks in advance.