Pruning newly planted fruit trees

HoneaNovember 7, 2013


I live in Phoenix, AZ and just planted 11 fruit trees in my backyard (they were not bare root but from pots). Many websites are telling me that I should cut them down to knee height but I am very hesitant to do so. Some of them are already 6' tall but no more than 3/4" wide.

Is it best to chop them down to 3', especially considering that we are in the fall and the trees are not dormant? Are there any other options to promote the low growth desired in a backyard orchard (notching?)?


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alan haigh

You don't need to chop them down if branches are positioned where you want them. I think you should certainly remove branches more than half the diameter of the trunk at point of their attachment- especially if there aren't 3 branches around that size, spreading in different directions. I usually remove branches more than a third.

Oversized branches can choke out the leader and imbalance the shape of the tree.

Sometimes heading back main (scaffold) branches helps to generate secondary branching.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:40PM
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I've only been doing the BYOC for 4 year. I've planted 50 or so tree's, it has been my experience that once they get bigger the 3/4" in dia. the knee hight cutting doesn't work so well.
I would plant it, and then prune it when it's dormant. Maybe cut the central leader out, and then prune 3-5 of the scaffold branches to what ever height you like.
Remember, this is a fun and very rewarding hobby.......and there are lot's of opinions out there.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:27PM
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