Google Answers Logo
View Question
 
Q: Pruning Trees ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Pruning Trees
Category: Family and Home > Gardening
Asked by: boxclever-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 19 Jan 2005 09:53 PST
Expires: 18 Feb 2005 09:53 PST
Question ID: 459900
I am looking for any web sites (or books even) that can show me
"before and after" photographs of tree pruning; specifically olive,
plum and cherry trees.

I would like to know which branches should be lightly trimmed; which
should be cut right back; and the best way to prune each branch (i.e.
cut at an angle or cut straight).

I have seen some wonderfully pruned olive trees locally with branches
falling to the ground, similar in look to a weeping willow tree, and
others that are pruned "vertically". Which method is recommended and
which is easiest to do and to maintain?

Request for Question Clarification by tlspiegel-ga on 20 Jan 2005 10:05 PST
Hi boxclever,

I'm posting this as a clarification - if this is satisfactory for you,
please post a clarification asking me to post the answer.

There isn't much on the internet which provides before and after
photographs of pruning trees.  However, I have located a book for you
that is highly recommended.

After each tree you prune, remember to disinfect your pruning tools in
a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water followed by cleaning with
soapy water and then drying. Tree diseases are easily spread by
infected tools.

           
Illustrated Guide to Pruning by Edward F. Gilman 
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0766822710/qid=1106242132/sr=1-6/ref=sr_1_6/103-2281542-9964669?v=glance&s=books


From Book News, Inc.
Universal and species-specific techniques are detailed here for the
appropriate training and pruning of young and medium-aged trees and
advice is given on challenges associated with pruning, including
disease prevention. Eight new chapters in this second edition cover
areas such as shrub pruning, tree biology, structural pruning, nursery
pruning, industry standards, and writing pruning specifications for
landscape trees. There is more material on the differences between
pruning shade trees and smaller trees, and on species from both
temperate and tropical climates. New learning features include
objectives, key words, exercises, and challenge questions. The author
teaches tree pruning at the University of Florida.Copyright  2004
Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Description:
This book provides guidelines for developing and maintaining sound
architectural trunk and branch structure. It is written around the
drawings and photographs to serve as the the main teaching tool for
students to learn by acutally pruning. The concepts presented in the
drawings will provide enough information to allow you to begin pruning
trees quickly, correctly and more efficiently. A must for anyone who
works with trees and shrubs

=========

Pruning Fruit Trees
http://doityourself.com/fruits/prunefruittrees.htm

=========

http://www.cvwd.org/lush&eff/lsh&ef28.htm

"Olea europea, olive. Control fruit development in winter and early
spring. Trim lightly to reduce wind load. Encourage uniform shape and
form. Remove all suckers. Thin from within the tree. Heavy pruning
increases sucker growth."

[Suckers are swift-growing shoots which appear around the tree's base.
Suckers rob the tree of nutrients and should always be removed
promptly.]

=========

From a question I recently I answered:

http://www.arborday.org/media/stormsectionf.cfm

Maintain a stable center of gravity. Wind, winter snow loads, or
previous loss of a major limb can create situations where the tree's
center of gravity is not positioned over the trunk. Then when a severe
storm hits, a slight bit of extra weight or wind pressure can break
limbs, snap the trunk off, or even topple the tree, roots and all. You
can help reposition a tree's center of gravity by selectively removing
branches on the leaning side and encouraging branches on the opposite
side.

Remove rubbing branches, suckers, watersprouts, and temporary
branches. Branches that rub against each other produce wounds and
decay. One of the offending branches should be removed. Watersprouts
and suckers can occur at the base of the tree or inside the crown.
They are rapidly growing, weakly attached, and upright branches that
do not follow the tree's normal growth pattern. On trees that have
been severely damaged, these kinds of branches may be temporarily
needed to provide foliage. In healthy trees, however, they most often
use more energy than they return to the tree, and it is best to remove
them as soon as possible . (see Illustration F4)

Temporary branches grow low on the tree when it is young and protect
young bark from injury by the sun. After a tree is three to four years
old, these temporary branches should be gradually removed.
Because leaves are vital in providing the tree with nourishment, never
remove more than one-third of a tree's leafy crown when pruning.
Don't cut branches back to stubs. Often people have the mistaken idea
that long natural limbs on a tree will break more easily in a storm,
and should be cut back to make them stronger. Just the opposite is the
case. When a branch is cut back to a stub, new branches will grow from
the edges of the stub. Because they cannot form a strong union with
the stubbed branch, these new branches are even more likely to be
broken in a future storm.

If a branch needs to be removed, cut it back to a main branch or to
the tree's trunk. Never leave a stub. (see Illustration F5)

=========

See Figure 5 on this page:  (third on the right side)
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/text/pruning.html

"Scaffold branches are the primary branches that will make up the
tree's framework."

[...]

"Scaffold branches should look like ascending spokes around a central
axle (Figure 5). This will provide a structurally strong tree that is
attractive, balanced, and allows sunlight to penetrate and wind to
pass through the canopy."

=======

Pruning of newly planted trees should be limited to corrective
pruning. By removing torn or broken branches. Save other pruning
measures for the second or third year.

The belief that trees should be pruned when planted to compensate for
root loss is not correct.

Trees need their leaves and shoot tips to provide food and the
substances which stimulate new root production. Unpruned trees
establish faster, with a stronger root system than trees pruned at the
time of planting.

Don't remove too many bottom branches (over-lifting) because those
will give the tree strength.

Never cut the top off your tree! 

Tree topping is also harmful practice to trees.
http://www.urbantree.org/topping.asp

After 3 years, you may prune the lower limbs to approximately one foot
off ground level. If you want to walk under your tree canopy, continue
to remove the lower limbs (1' off the ground) each year for up to 5 or
6 years.   Bottom limbs give strength to the tree.

http://www.smud.org/residential/saving/trees/care.html

=========

A good article on pruning can be found at:
http://www.geocities.com/starczaks/pruning/pruning.html

=========

Plum Tree

http://www.gardenaction.co.uk/fruit_veg_diary/fruit_veg_mini_project_march_2_plum.asp

You'll see links on the left side of page - there are some
illustrations along with the description.

Planting Plum Trees
Care of Plum Trees
Pruning Plum Trees 

=========

Pruning Fruit Trees
http://landscaping.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=landscaping&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fssfruit.cas.psu.edu%2Fchapter4%2Fchapter4f.htm

=========

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/fruit/prune.htm

Plums - Bear the majority of their fruit on vigorous spurs on wood two
years or more old. Avoid heavy pruning which stimulates watersprout
growth. A light thinning out of small branches and twigs is needed
each year to open up the tree and prevent declining fruit production
in the inner area of the tree. Older tree which haven't been properly
pruned bear fruit only on the outer 2-3 feet of each branch.

Cherry-Plums - Small, short-lived trees which bear good for the first
few years with little pruning. When the trees are young, prune back to
stimulate new growth and reduce breakage from heavy loads of fruit.
Each year older trees should be pruned to remove old wood and
encourage the growth of new fruiting shoots. Two to four year old
stems are the most productive.

Sour Cherries - Produce some fruit on annual shoots but most is borne
on spurs. Light thinning out of upper branches is needed to keep the
tree open and to allow for good sun penetration.

Renovating Neglected Trees 

When pruning neglected fruit trees, it is not necessary or possible to
correct all errors in tree structure due to the lack of pruning in the
past. Complete rejuvenation may take several years of heavy pruning.
Do not remove more than one-third of the top growth in any one year.
Fertilizer should not be applied during years of heavy pruning to
reduce the amount of regrowth. The main objectives in pruning
neglected fruit trees are to reduce tree size, thin out branches and
most importantly increase fruit production and quality.

Tree size is reduced by lowering the height of the tree and cutting
back the lateral branches to obtain the desired width. When reducing
tree height, no more than four to five feet of growth should be
removed in one year. The top should be removed just above an outward
lateral branch. Water sprout removal may be necessary in subsquent
years.

Thinning out of undesired, large branches should all be done at one
time. However, if more than four large branches need to be removed,
remove half one year and half the next. After removing the unwanted
large branches, remove smaller low hanging branches and dead, diseased
or broken branches. As a final step thin out the smaller branches in
the tree. Remove underhanging branches, vertical growing shoots and
other weak growth. The thinning out process will open up the tree for
better light penetration, the development of fruiting wood and finally
more and better quality fruit.

=========

Pruning 
http://www.treehelp.com/trees/cherry/care.asp

Cherry trees have some specific guidelines for pruning. They can be
pruned moderately to let in light in and to thin out branches, this
can improve air circulation to help prevent disease. Most stone fruit
trees are pruned in winter, when the tree is dormant. However,
cherries are usually pruned in summer, to reduce the attack of a
disease called Silver Leaf. It is recommended to cover pruning cuts
with a non-asphalt-based pruning paste to protect against disease.
Prune off dead, damaged or diseased wood. Shape the tree into an open
vase-shape if you can. However, weeping cherries should be pruned to
maintain their weeping shape. Cherries fruit on 1-year-old shoots and
lateral spurs, so you can prune off new material as you see fit. Make
sure you remove and destroy any fallen wood, leaves and old fruit as
this will help to reduce the risk of disease. Cuts should be made
about 1/8th of an inch above a bud and should be made on an angle to
allow water to drain off. Also, it is important to disinfect pruning
tools after each cut when pruning diseased tree

=========

How to Prune a Tree (Illustrations)
http://www.treehelp.com/howto/howto-prune-a-tree.asp

=========

Best regards,
tlspiegel

Clarification of Question by boxclever-ga on 20 Jan 2005 10:41 PST
Hello tlspiegel-ga

Not a lot on the internet!? You have surpassed my expectations. I have
followed your links and am utterly astounded. I searched (obviously
not well enough) for quite a while and found nothing. Please do post
this as an answer, and well done! Thank you too for such a swift
answer.
Answer  
Subject: Re: Pruning Trees
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 20 Jan 2005 11:09 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Hi boxclever,

I'm happy you were pleased with the information I found.  :)

One rule to follow is after each tree you prune, remember to disinfect
your pruning tools in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water
followed by cleaning with soapy water and then drying. Tree diseases
are easily spread by infected tools.

I have located a book for you that is highly recommended.  
         
Illustrated Guide to Pruning by Edward F. Gilman 
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0766822710/qid=1106242132/sr=1-6/ref=sr_1_6/103-2281542-9964669?v=glance&s=books

From Book News, Inc.
"Universal and species-specific techniques are detailed here for the
appropriate training and pruning of young and medium-aged trees and
advice is given on challenges associated with pruning, including
disease prevention. Eight new chapters in this second edition cover
areas such as shrub pruning, tree biology, structural pruning, nursery
pruning, industry standards, and writing pruning specifications for
landscape trees. There is more material on the differences between
pruning shade trees and smaller trees, and on species from both
temperate and tropical climates. New learning features include
objectives, key words, exercises, and challenge questions. The author
teaches tree pruning at the University of Florida.Copyright  2004
Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Description:
This book provides guidelines for developing and maintaining sound
architectural trunk and branch structure. It is written around the
drawings and photographs to serve as the the main teaching tool for
students to learn by acutally pruning. The concepts presented in the
drawings will provide enough information to allow you to begin pruning
trees quickly, correctly and more efficiently. A must for anyone who
works with trees and shrubs."

=========

Pruning Fruit Trees
http://doityourself.com/fruits/prunefruittrees.htm

=========

http://www.cvwd.org/lush&eff/lsh&ef28.htm

"Olea europea, olive. Control fruit development in winter and early
spring. Trim lightly to reduce wind load. Encourage uniform shape and
form. Remove all suckers. Thin from within the tree. Heavy pruning
increases sucker growth."

[Suckers are swift-growing shoots which appear around the tree's base.
Suckers rob the tree of nutrients and should always be removed
promptly.]

=========

From a question I recently I answered:

http://www.arborday.org/media/stormsectionf.cfm

"Maintain a stable center of gravity. Wind, winter snow loads, or
previous loss of a major limb can create situations where the tree's
center of gravity is not positioned over the trunk. Then when a severe
storm hits, a slight bit of extra weight or wind pressure can break
limbs, snap the trunk off, or even topple the tree, roots and all. You
can help reposition a tree's center of gravity by selectively removing
branches on the leaning side and encouraging branches on the opposite
side.

Remove rubbing branches, suckers, watersprouts, and temporary
branches. Branches that rub against each other produce wounds and
decay. One of the offending branches should be removed. Watersprouts
and suckers can occur at the base of the tree or inside the crown.
They are rapidly growing, weakly attached, and upright branches that
do not follow the tree's normal growth pattern. On trees that have
been severely damaged, these kinds of branches may be temporarily
needed to provide foliage. In healthy trees, however, they most often
use more energy than they return to the tree, and it is best to remove
them as soon as possible . (see Illustration F4)

Temporary branches grow low on the tree when it is young and protect
young bark from injury by the sun. After a tree is three to four years
old, these temporary branches should be gradually removed.
Because leaves are vital in providing the tree with nourishment, never
remove more than one-third of a tree's leafy crown when pruning.
Don't cut branches back to stubs. Often people have the mistaken idea
that long natural limbs on a tree will break more easily in a storm,
and should be cut back to make them stronger. Just the opposite is the
case. When a branch is cut back to a stub, new branches will grow from
the edges of the stub. Because they cannot form a strong union with
the stubbed branch, these new branches are even more likely to be
broken in a future storm.

If a branch needs to be removed, cut it back to a main branch or to
the tree's trunk. Never leave a stub. (see Illustration F5)

=========

See Figure 5 on this page:  (third on the right side)
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/text/pruning.html

"Scaffold branches are the primary branches that will make up the
tree's framework."

[...]

"Scaffold branches should look like ascending spokes around a central
axle (Figure 5). This will provide a structurally strong tree that is
attractive, balanced, and allows sunlight to penetrate and wind to
pass through the canopy."

=======

Pruning of newly planted trees should be limited to corrective
pruning. By removing torn or broken branches. Save other pruning
measures for the second or third year.

The belief that trees should be pruned when planted to compensate for
root loss is not correct.

Trees need their leaves and shoot tips to provide food and the
substances which stimulate new root production. Unpruned trees
establish faster, with a stronger root system than trees pruned at the
time of planting.

Don't remove too many bottom branches (over-lifting) because those
will give the tree strength.

Never cut the top off your tree! 

Tree topping is also harmful practice to trees.
http://www.urbantree.org/topping.asp

After 3 years, you may prune the lower limbs to approximately one foot
off ground level. If you want to walk under your tree canopy, continue
to remove the lower limbs (1' off the ground) each year for up to 5 or
6 years.   Bottom limbs give strength to the tree.

http://www.smud.org/residential/saving/trees/care.html

=========

A good article on pruning can be found at:
http://www.geocities.com/starczaks/pruning/pruning.html

=========

Plum Tree

http://www.gardenaction.co.uk/fruit_veg_diary/fruit_veg_mini_project_march_2_plum.asp

You'll see links on the left side of page - there are some
illustrations along with the description.

Planting Plum Trees
Care of Plum Trees
Pruning Plum Trees 

=========

Pruning Fruit Trees
http://landscaping.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=landscaping&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fssfruit.cas.psu.edu%2Fchapter4%2Fchapter4f.htm

=========

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/fruit/prune.htm

"Plums - Bear the majority of their fruit on vigorous spurs on wood
two years or more old. Avoid heavy pruning which stimulates
watersprout growth. A light thinning out of small branches and twigs
is needed each year to open up the tree and prevent declining fruit
production in the inner area of the tree. Older tree which haven't
been properly pruned bear fruit only on the outer 2-3 feet of each
branch.

Cherry-Plums - Small, short-lived trees which bear good for the first
few years with little pruning. When the trees are young, prune back to
stimulate new growth and reduce breakage from heavy loads of fruit.
Each year older trees should be pruned to remove old wood and
encourage the growth of new fruiting shoots. Two to four year old
stems are the most productive.

Sour Cherries - Produce some fruit on annual shoots but most is borne
on spurs. Light thinning out of upper branches is needed to keep the
tree open and to allow for good sun penetration.

Renovating Neglected Trees 

When pruning neglected fruit trees, it is not necessary or possible to
correct all errors in tree structure due to the lack of pruning in the
past. Complete rejuvenation may take several years of heavy pruning.
Do not remove more than one-third of the top growth in any one year.
Fertilizer should not be applied during years of heavy pruning to
reduce the amount of regrowth. The main objectives in pruning
neglected fruit trees are to reduce tree size, thin out branches and
most importantly increase fruit production and quality.

Tree size is reduced by lowering the height of the tree and cutting
back the lateral branches to obtain the desired width. When reducing
tree height, no more than four to five feet of growth should be
removed in one year. The top should be removed just above an outward
lateral branch. Water sprout removal may be necessary in subsquent
years.

Thinning out of undesired, large branches should all be done at one
time. However, if more than four large branches need to be removed,
remove half one year and half the next. After removing the unwanted
large branches, remove smaller low hanging branches and dead, diseased
or broken branches. As a final step thin out the smaller branches in
the tree. Remove underhanging branches, vertical growing shoots and
other weak growth. The thinning out process will open up the tree for
better light penetration, the development of fruiting wood and finally
more and better quality fruit."

=========

Pruning 
http://www.treehelp.com/trees/cherry/care.asp

"Cherry trees have some specific guidelines for pruning. They can be
pruned moderately to let in light in and to thin out branches, this
can improve air circulation to help prevent disease. Most stone fruit
trees are pruned in winter, when the tree is dormant. However,
cherries are usually pruned in summer, to reduce the attack of a
disease called Silver Leaf. It is recommended to cover pruning cuts
with a non-asphalt-based pruning paste to protect against disease.
Prune off dead, damaged or diseased wood. Shape the tree into an open
vase-shape if you can. However, weeping cherries should be pruned to
maintain their weeping shape. Cherries fruit on 1-year-old shoots and
lateral spurs, so you can prune off new material as you see fit. Make
sure you remove and destroy any fallen wood, leaves and old fruit as
this will help to reduce the risk of disease. Cuts should be made
about 1/8th of an inch above a bud and should be made on an angle to
allow water to drain off. Also, it is important to disinfect pruning
tools after each cut when pruning diseased tree."

=========

How to Prune a Tree (Illustrations)
http://www.treehelp.com/howto/howto-prune-a-tree.asp

=========

If you'd like to take a peek at a recently answered question on
planting trees, it also addresses general pruning issues.
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=459805

=========

search:

Personal knowledge


keyword search:

prune olive cherry plum trees
pruning trees
how to prune a tree
pruning tree illustrations techniques

=========


Best regards,
tlspiegel

Clarification of Answer by tlspiegel-ga on 20 Jan 2005 11:15 PST
Oooopss... forgot to add this!

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?archiveDate=10-12-04&storyID=19855

Olive trees are fun to prune, too. They take to a weeping habit, if
you remember to let the weeping twigs ?bounce??that is, if you keep
the upper and cut off the lower bit, so the flow of the branch is
open, reaching out, not cramped. They look great if you cut off only
the twigs that cross and tangle with each other under the canopy, and
leave an open, airy umbrella.

=========
http://www.orchardsedge.com/qa.jsp?category=Fruit+and+Nut+Bearing+Trees+and+Plants#68

Any weeping tree needs a strong central leader and a few other strong
upper branches to grow tall and begin to arch in order to support the
long weeping twigs. Young trees should be pruned to keep one central
stem and a few good side ones. Prune your weeping cherry in late
summer or fall, when the sap won't bleed as much. Continually remove
water sprouts from the branches, as well as any suckers at the base of
the tree. When pruning, always remove the entire stem. If you don't
cut them all the way to their starting point, it will produce an
unattractive twiggy growth. Once your branches start to trail the
ground and get in the way, the tips may be pruned.
boxclever-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
A very clear and concise answer surpassing my expectations. Thank you very much!

Comments  
Subject: Re: Pruning Trees
From: frde-ga on 20 Jan 2005 05:09 PST
 
Oddly enough I have read about the 'weeping olive trees'
- in a couple of books by a UK lass who went to (I think) Umbria (Italy)

A sort of Lady Fortescue or Peter Mayer type of writer.

Perhaps that will be a clue for digging up her tome.

Anyway, the jist was that an Italian Agricultural Improvement
Organization turned up and told the local rustics to attack the olive
trees with chainsaws, zap the main trunk and snip of anything pointing
up.

The locals were outraged, but (I forget the details) they saw a
demonstration, and became total converts. The trees yielded a lot more
- and were easier to beat.

Her books are highly amusing and informative and her descriptions rather graphic.
Subject: Re: Pruning Trees
From: boxclever-ga on 20 Jan 2005 10:49 PST
 
Hello frde ga!

I live on the French / Italian border so it's not too surprising that
the weeping olive trees are rife in Italy. I have to say, they are
stunningly beautiful; if done right! (Though they're not too pretty if
done incorrectly).

I have four mature olive trees in the house I bought last year but
unfortunately three have been placed too close together. Under French
law my (very understanding) neighbour could ask me to have them moved
further back from the boundry line between our houses since they block
out afternoon sunlight to his swimming pool. Trouble is, if I move
them away from the boundry then they'll be in the shallow end of my
swimming pool. This is why this "weeping willow" practice interests
me; rather than letting the trees grow upwards, I would like them to
grow downwards. I wasn't sure if its good practice, but if the'
I.A.I.O. were converted then it certainly can't do them any harm.

Thanks for your comment - I shall investigate the tome!
Subject: Re: Pruning Trees
From: frde-ga on 20 Jan 2005 23:44 PST
 
Sounds idyllic

It also sounds as if the 'weeping olive' solution will do the trick.
If I remember correctly they looked pretty dismal for the first year.
Subject: Re: Pruning Trees
From: tlspiegel-ga on 21 Jan 2005 07:00 PST
 
Hi boxclever,

Thank you for the 5 star rating, comments and very generous tip!

Best regards,
tlspiegel

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at answers-support@google.com with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  


Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy