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Pruning fruit trees (instructions and tips). When is the right time to do a spring rejuvenation pruning?

Late February – early March is the perfect time to give the fruit trees in the garden a rejuvenation pruning. The woody plants are at the end of winter dormancy, but in a few weeks or days will begin to grow vigorously. We explain how to prune the fruit trees and what you should pay attention to.

Why prune fruit trees and when is pruning legal?

Cut fruit trees when right time

A nurturing pruning promotes growth, extends the flowering period and ensures that the fruit trees bear more fruit.

Dead fruit trees can be dropped only until the end of February. Heavy pruning is out of the question from the beginning of March. By law – provided that there are no birds nesting in the fruit tree – only maintenance rejuvenation pruning is permitted. Thus, only individual branches may be pruned.

Pruning fruit trees: Here’s what you should keep in mind when pruning in the spring

Cutting fruit trees in the spring like sketch

Fruit trees are usually pruned on frost-free, preferably sunny days. The right pruning technique is very important for the final result. In doing so, you should follow a few basic rules.

  • Use sharp pruning shears.
  • Wear cut-resistant gardening gloves.
  • Cut whole branches as close to the tree trunk as possible.
  • Do not seal cut wounds less than 10 cm in diameter. For larger cuts, apply wound sealant only to the edge of the wound.
  • Fruit trees should ideally have a uniform pyramidal crown after pruning.  When pruning, you should also make sure that all branches and twigs get enough sunlight. In some cases, you can even thin out the tree if the branches rub against each other or cross.

Fruit trees where to cut branches tips

  • Also remove old twigs and branches that have not borne fruit for several years.
  • Branches that grow downward must also be cut off.
  • Precise pruning is very important. Therefore, it is better to use hand shears or loppers and avoid tools with telescopic poles.

Rejuvenation pruning for the fruit tree: a step by step guide:

Fruit trees correct cutting in the spring what to consider


  1. Check the fruit tree for pests and dead wood.
  2. Mark the old branches pointing downward and upward.
  3. Every tree has a central shoot and several main branches, still called leader branches. These should be left standing in any case. The main branches (about 5-6 pcs.) are shortened so that the crown shape is preserved.

Pruning fruit trees in winter and spring

  1. If necessary, the crown of the old fruit trees can be additionally thinned out. For this purpose, simply mark all crossing and old shoots.
  2. Young trees also need to be pruned. In the first years, the leading branches should only be shortened. The remaining branches are cut as close to the trunk of the tree.
  3. Determine the correct cut. Almost every branch junction has a bulge that is easily identifiable. Cut the tree branch about 2-3 inches above the bulge.
  4. It is best to leave the intersections untreated.

Prune fruit trees during frost: Is it possible?

Apple tree when to cut instructions and useful tips


Fruit trees are usually pruned on frost-free days. However, pruning in the spring is possible without further ado, even during permafrost. Fruit trees can recover well and easily tolerate temperatures as low as – 6 degrees Celsius. Above all, it is important that this pruning takes place in the spring – at the end of the winter dormancy.

Pruning fruit trees: Exceptions and useful tips for the different types of fruit trees.

Apricot tree when and how to cut tips

Pruning apricot:

The apricot tree can tolerate a nurturing pruning in the spring, but the best time to do it is in the summer, after the end of the harvest season.

In the spring, educational pruning is an option for young trees. This involves pruning the branches so that the tree retains its typical pyramidal shape. This pruning should not be missed in any case, because without it the fruit tree will quickly die.

Pruning apple tree

Apple tree pruning tips and instructions where how to prune

For the apple tree is recommended maintenance pruning in the spring, preferably at the end of February. The fruit tree tolerates frost well and can be pruned at temperatures as low as -6 degrees Celsius.

Pruning depends on the particular variety. In the case of weak-growing varieties, a heavy pruning is recommended to promote growth. Strong-growing varieties, on the other hand, which quickly become very tall, should not be pruned.

Pruning pear tree

The crown of the pear tree loses its typical shape with age. Therefore, pruning in winter is an absolute must. Otherwise, you risk that after a few years the crown will be heavily branched. Branches that do not get sunlight will also bear much less and smaller fruit.

Pruning quince tree

Quince tree proper pruning instructions and tips

Just before the flowers form in March, that is, mid to late February, is the right time to prune the quince tree. Unlike other fruit trees, however, quinces are not pruned, but thinned out. This involves removing old branches and twigs. Every 3-4 years, you can then also give the fruit tree a topiary .

Unlike other young fruit trees, you should not prune the quince tree for the first 3-4 years.