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Late summer pruning of pomaceous and stone fruit trees in the garden

For many people, fruit trees are an essential part of a beautiful garden. We would therefore like to examine this topic in greater detail, especially given the fact that it is particularly relevant at this time of year. Pruning essentially ensures more light for the fruit and slows down growth. Lawns and other green areas also receive more light as a result.

We make a basic distinction between winter and summer pruning. Winter pruning is carried from when the leaves have fallen until the swelling of the buds in spring. Apple, pear and plum trees can be pruned throughout the entire dormancy period. Peach and apricot trees can be pruned during the period when the buds are swelling. You can also prune apricot trees while they are still on bloom without any negative effects the tree.
For summer pruning, we make a distinction between early and late pruning. Early summer pruning is carried out in June. The tree is experiencing vigorous shoot growth and the fruit is in the cell division phase. The flower buds for the next year have not yet been formed. Early summer pruning is limited to breaking or cutting off unwanted shoots, particularly at the crown of the tree. This results in strong growth.

Carry out late summer pruning now, in August
Summer pruning should be carried out on trees with especially strong growth that do not bear much fruit. The advantage here is that undesirable new growth is stopped and shoot growth is significantly reduced during the next vegetation period.

Fruit trees with strong growth and low crop yields are cut more aggressively than trees with weak growth and good fruit set. Fruit slow down growth. This pruning is especially important if trees are affected by alternate bearing (on-crop and off-crop year) or frost during blossoming. Trees that display strong shoot growth due to aggressive winter pruning must also undergo summer pruning.

More light for the crown
The inner area of the crown receives much more light and the assimilation efficiency (the absorption of external substances, which are converted into natural compounds) inside the crown is improved. This compensates for the loss of the outer shoots and leaf mass. Exposure of the fruit to sunlight also promotes coloration of the fruit skin and significantly improves the quality of the fruit.
Regulating the ratio of leaves to fruit prevents oversized fruit and significantly reduces susceptibility to bitter pit (unattractive spots on the skin of the fruit). It should be noted that fruit on long shoots remains small and develops problems with bitter pit (calcium deficiency). Bitter pit is primarily a problem with the distribution of calcium in the tree. The advantage of summer pruning is that wounds in more sensitive fruit trees such as walnut, sweet cherry and sour cherry show better recovery. If you prune during the vegetation period, trees can seal off wounds and thus largely prevent disease penetration. Gummosis in stone fruit can also be controlled in this way.

Manfred Putz