Remember, mid February to late March is the best time of the year to prune your apple and crabapple, pear, plum and mountain ash trees. All of thes fruit bearing woody plants are members of the rose family and are susceptible to a deadly bacterial disease, fireblight. If pruned during the growing season, in spring especially, there is great risk for infection particularly if fireblight happens to be active in the neighborhood or if following your pruning, the weather turns wet and windy.
Creating a beautiful form should be, ideally, a major consideration when pruning any of these trees, especially plums, Waneta, Superior, or the native wild American plum.
Pruning apples and crabapples can be a more difficult task…Some cultivars are not very small, and most overproduce ugly, stiff, twiggy, and thorny branchlets which often cross one another. In order to reestablish beauty of form to some older crabapple and apple trees, pruning is often required annually for three or four years and alternately for years after that. Pruning after a long period of time of no pruning will usually cause numerous vertical shoots often of great length the next year…two to four feet in one growing season which make the trees appear quite ugly usually.
These vertical spears are called, “watersprouts”.
Some pruning of crabapples in early March every year reduces the numbers of watersprouts.
Careful and clever pruning can create beautful trees.
If you planted a tree of any kind last year in a space too small for its eventual size, you can 1) transplant it, or, 2) if you are clever with your pruning skills, and will religiously prune the big tree to keep it small in its space, you can control its shape and size. Warning, don’t neglect the pruning…once year will be enough.
Last year I finally had to remove a beautiful 20 plus year old white oak, only 7 feet tall, a seedling planted by the squirrels. I had pruned it annually to maintain the shape and size which I had artistically designed. I am fond of white oaks. But I cannot allow for them to block out the little sunlight I have allowed my flowering perennials. I often maintain these oaks as shrubs or small trees. they add good color to the fall garden, sometimes even into the winter, for most retain their rust colored leaves well into winter. Pruning a single stem three year old oak almost to the ground will create a multiple stemmed tree. Such prunings ideally should be done early April.
Check your calendar. If you are too busy or timid to prune your rose family trees, call Masterpiece Landscaping, Ltd. at 952-933-5777. We will make your tree an art piece again.