Pruning trees in mn now?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by MN Mom, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. MN Mom

    MN Mom Well-Known Member

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    Can I prune our apple , grape vines and plum trees in MN this early in the season?

    Would I just spray paint the cuts or would I have to use tar?

    How much damage would I do to an apple tree if I topped it off at 15' (they are over 25' now)?

    Any suggestions on how to get bigger fruit off of plum trees (fruits are quarter sized now with seeds taking up 75% of the fruit)?

    Thanks for now,
    Jon
     
  2. Michael Kawalek

    Michael Kawalek Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like what you want to do is limit the height of the trees. In that case, winter/spring pruning is the worst thing to do. Winter pruning promotes more growth. To arrest height growth you'll want to summer prune, come July or so.

    If you want to have bigger plums, you have to have fewer plums. The tree is genetically programed to have a certain number of pounds of fruit. You can either have 400 quarter pound fruit, or you can have 100 one pound fruit. To do this you need to thin the fruit early in the season while the fruit are still marble sized. No two fruit should be touching each other on the tree, and you'll get even larger fruit if they're separated by at least 6 inches between fruit.
    Good luck,
    Michael
     

  3. northergardener

    northergardener Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to apply paint or tar, as these slow down the tree forming wound (callus) tissue on its own. The "naked" wound will heal just fine, leave it alone.
     
  4. PrincessFerf

    PrincessFerf Enter farm name here

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    I agree with Northergardener. Its best to prune trees when they're dormant (in winter). Taking off 10ft. from a 25ft apple tree might be a bit much, but you might want to check out some gardening sites to get specific information about the type of fruit tree you're dealing with.

    Pruning trees are part art, part science. You want to take off enough that you encourage growth, but taking off too much can kill it.
     
  5. VOR.

    VOR. Well-Known Member

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    You don't ever want to top a fruit tree. Topping encourages suckers. It also removes the most vigorous and productive part of the tree.

    As several said, you don't need to cover the wounds from pruning.

    Your plum tree probably needs pruning. If it has been pruned, then thin the fruit after the drop.
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    For a standard apple tree to get that high, it was never top-pruned. Going from 25' to 15' would be just about right. When they get too high, rule-0f-thumb is to remove a third of height. Also applies to pear trees which have been allowed to grow straight up.

    Martin
     
  7. MN Mom

    MN Mom Well-Known Member

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    We have 7 apple trees. About 75% of our apples become deer food because either we can't use that much or we can't reach it. Our granny Smith tree is still full from about 8' and up.
     
  8. Mare Owner

    Mare Owner Sugarstone Farm

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    I have been researching how to reclaim an ancient apple tree in our yard. What I've been finding says year 1 you top it, nothing else. The next year you work on another part of the structure of the tree. So if I were you, I'd top this year, now, and wait until next January to do anymore pruning.
     
  9. mnn2501

    mnn2501 Dallas

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    When I lived in WI I always pruned in January. I always painted the cuts but many people don't