By Neil Harms
The pruning of the persimmon trees and various other fruit trees was done during winter dormancy. Pruning requires knowledge, but also experience and a bit it of common sense. Getting advice from experienced farmers and reading articles on pruning has given me more confidence.
A bad pruning job can have a long-term effect on the growth and production of the tree. Pruning affects the appearance and ability to provide a bountiful harvest. The plan is to prune branches so that they support and give the tree a better chance at fruit production. Wherever a branch is cut, it will instinctively “push out” new growth where the cut was made. So, cutting randomly without a plan can lead to unwanted new growth. New growth does not always lead to more fruit, so some of it needs to be pruned away.
Pruning too much is easy to do. Making more than one round of pruning is a good idea. Cut the obvious wood the first round, do the bulk of the pruning during the second round, and then shaping and fine-tuning cuts during the third round. Pruning remorse happens, but when leaves and fruit return, all is forgiven!
Knowledge of how to prune is vital, but it is also very important to have sharp pruning shears for making clean cuts. Also, sterilizing the shears after pruning each tree will minimize the possibility of transmitting disease if there is any.
The blossoms and leaves are returning, and the trees are looking good. Hoping that a good pruning job will lead to more healthy trees and lots of fruit production!