Rose and Dormant Fruit Tree Pruning
Now is the best time to begin pruning roses and dormant fruit trees. It is important that roses and fruit trees — such as low-chill apples, pears, peaches, nectarines and plums — are pruned this time of year to promote growth. On Feb. 2, Armstrong Garden Centers will host a free rose-pruning class at 9 a.m. and a free fruit tree-pruning class at 11 a.m. In the meantime, here are some tips from the nursery:
Successful tips for pruning roses:
- Wear gloves that cover up to your elbows. Use a large pair of long-handled loppers for excess growth and regular clippers to finish the job.
- Prune all of the dead growth and any crossing branches from the center of the plant. Rake up any leaves on the ground, but do not compost; leaves can contain spores of common diseases or insects.
- Begin by cutting just above the small nodes (where leaves appear) on the stems. Make sure they are pointing out from the center of the plant so new growth will not lean toward the middle.
- Any shoots below the graft union should be removed; they produce inferior flowers. Try twisting them until they come free.
Successful tips for pruning fruit trees:
- When leaves begin to drop, prune any dead branches, those that cross over others, those that grow toward the center of the tree and those not growing upward in at least a 45-degree angle (these will break when fruit matures).
- You can also prune in the summer after fruit production to more readily distinguish dead growth.
- Rake dead leaves and discard them. There may be fungus spores or insect eggs that could harm your trees if left to compost.
- Apple trees need very little pruning. Do not cut away spurs or they won’t bear fruit.
- Peaches and nectarines need the heaviest pruning to encourage new growth and replenish fruiting wood.
— Patty Cordero, assistant store manager, Armstrong Garden Centers, armstronggarden.com/stores