Autumn is the best time of year to prune trees, and avoid spreading the fungal disease silver leaf
Pruning is an important part of tree health as it ensures the tree has good airflow and the sunshine is able to reach the center of the tree to ripen fruit. It also helps to reduce the height of the tree to keep the fruit within easy reach. Removing dead and diseased wood will improve the overall health of the tree and of course we want to have good looking trees!
Pruning is best done on a dry day, both for your benefit and the trees. You will need clean, sharp tools to avoid damaging the tree. To prevent spreading diseases use a mild detergent or rubbing alcohol to clean tools between trees.
Use the right tool for the job – Secateurs are good for twigs and thin branches, loppers work well on larger branches and a pruning saw to tackle the larger branches. Branch with longer or telescopic reach are ideal for overhead or hard to reach areas.
Start by removing the dead, dying and disease branches. Next look for any branches that are crossing over or rubbing each other. Cut out branches that grow across the centre of the tree, to improve airflow. Make sure all cuts are on a 45 degree angle, just above an ourtward facing bud.
Stop often to stand back and make sure the tree is well balanced. And don’t forget to stay safe by wearing gloves and eye protection and take care using ladders. Remove and dispose of any diseased prunings, don’t compost, and clean and sharpen tools when finished.