Choose three to four limbs on your one- to three-year-old apricot tree to serve as scaffold limbs, or main fruiting branches. "Very clear and concise. It also corrects problems early, and your cuts will be smaller. Expert Interview.  It’s best to choose branches that are growing outwards away from the trunk, rather than straight up, as vertically-growing branches are more prone to snapping off if they produce a lot of heavy fruit. Cut back scaffold limbs to a length of 24 to 30 inches. It dries out the wounds very fast. January is a good month to get started. References ", fantastic. Thinner branches towards the top of the tree can be left a little closer together, whereas the thickest branches towards the bottom need the most space. It’s when your trees are dormant, usually December through early February. Even a little bit of trimming will help. Prune trees before onset of winter rains to prevent Eutypa fungus infection of pruning wounds. Prune young trees to develop shape and all trees to encourage health and new growth. At this point your tree should be trained into shape; pruning in subsequent years focuses on maintaining that shape. The optimum time of year to prune fruit trees is the dormant season, December, January (best) and until the middle of February, but note summer schedule for Apricots. The short answer is yes - you can prune fruit trees in summer. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Apricot trees flower early in late, "You were just so specific, I find that helpful, along with all of the descriptive images. This small stone fruit can be cooked for jam, baked into pies and tarts or eaten fresh. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Start by cutting away any visibly dead, diseased, or damaged branches.  X Expert Source Steve Masley Home & Garden Specialist Expert Interview. You’ll want to use sharp, clean pruning shears and a pruning saw to make the job easier. Apricot trees are prone to catching disease, but pruning them once a year will help them heal and stay healthy. Cut more branches off of young trees, and less off of older ones. If the wood you remove while pruning your apricot tree is free from disease, dry it and use it for kindling or for fuel in a smoker or wood oven. Wait until the next summer to continue pruning the tree. To thin the branches, cut away smaller branches about a quarter-inch above where they connect to the trunk. Expert Interview. Remove undesirable wood- dead, broken, and crossing branches. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. The first step in rejuvenating a neglected tree is to prune it. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Gumminess can be a sign of disease and rot. Remove poor growing wood, such as thin shoots (the size of a pencil), downward-growing branches and wood that crosses over other branches. These perfectly vertical new branches won’t produce fruit, but often block sunlight from reaching the fruit on lower branches. “Suckers” are small sprouts coming out of the base of the trunk. Thanks, wikiHow.". Branches are healthy and gone awry. In between each cut, sanitize your pruners with a disinfectant spray. I'm ready to go out to, "Your article on pruning my apricot painted a perfect picture of how to care for my apricot tree and the results are, "I have two self-grown apricot trees. Pruning of deciduous fruit and nut trees is normally done when the tree is dormant—essentially any time after the leaves are off and prior to spring bud break. Cherry and apricot trees could catch destructive diseases if they are pruned during California's rainy season. In this case, 96% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Apricots are nearly synonymous with California, which produces 95 percent of the United States' apricot crop, according to the California Apricot Council. To learn how to shorten the height of your tree with pruning, read on! Apricot trees should be pruned annually to ensure optimal tree health and to create both light and air circulation in the tree canopy, which ripens fruit and reduces fungal and bacterial disease. Pruning in late summer gives your apricot tree more time to grow new branches, which means that your tree will produce more apricots next year. Expert Source Harvest your apricots when they are ripe and hold off on pruning until you've completed your harvesting. Shortening a branch will make buds within 1–8 inches (2.5–20.3 cm) of the cut grow more vigorously, so make sure you’re trimming at a place along the branch that gives new buds room to grow. Keeping these intact will help prevent over-pruning and ensure your apricot tree’s overall structure is sound. This article has been viewed 40,068 times. Can I prune fruit trees in summer? Ready to prune in fall here in Saskatchewan (Canada). Steve Masley has been designing and maintaining organic vegetable gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. There are two types of pruning cuts: In 2007 and 2008, Steve taught the Local Sustainable Agriculture Field Practicum at Stanford University. Select one to two strong shoots on each scaffold limb and trim these back to 24 to 30 inches. Spray trees during or after leaf fall but before onset of winter rains to control shot hole fungus. By using our site, you agree to our. This article was co-authored by Steve Masley. Trimming vertical branches encourages new branches and leaves to form, and prevents them from growing too tall and blocking sunlight. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. The amount of pruning, of course, will depend on the condition of the tree. B) The one that extends from the fall of leaves until the beginning of the sprouting It is the pruning practiced during the autumn – winter and that we call winter pruning. Good scaffold limbs will be evenly spaced around the tree and strong; avoid choosing weak limbs. Wherever the flowers start to blossom and bees are hovering over, that's where the fruit will start growing. Remove dead or diseased growth in the same manner as you did the previous year, after harvest. You can buy the standard butane torch from Home Depot for under $20 and it has many other uses. winter/early spring when it's too cold and wet to prune. During this period of time the tree is actively growing and the pruning cuts heal quickly so that diseases have little chance to enter the wounds. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets. Eliminate any branches that compete with the scaffold limbs by cutting them off at their intersection with the trunk. Remove old, broken, diseased branches. On the other hand, each type of apricot pruning has an appropriate time to carry it out: Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. Prune away any dead or diseased growth using pruning shears, cutting the growth off at its base. Eliminate any branches that compete with the scaffold limbs by cutting them off at their intersection with the trunk. Strip away vertically-growing branches since they shade the tree. Home & Garden Specialist. Pruning apricot trees at least once a year is necessary in order to have healthy plants. They are prone You can use it on peaches, apples when ever you prune. It’s best to prune your apricot tree in late summer right after harvesting fruit. Trim your tree as soon as possible after harvesting fruit. Remove any suckers that grow off the apricot tree's trunk. Allow the tree to grow until the following summer. During an apricot tree’s first three years, prune aggressively to aim for growth rather than fruit production. According to the California Apricot Council, the fruits ripen from May to July throughout Northern California and May to August in Southern California.