Winter is for Pruning

By February 6, 2013Pleasant Valley Orchard
MN Apple Orchard Blog

It’s pruning time at Pleasant Valley Orchard!  Most days between now and the middle of April you will see me in the orchard, hopefully pruning up a storm.  Why do we spend so much time at this each year?  In order to grow high quality, nutritious fruit it is important to manage our trees to capture the most sunlight possible.  Think of the tree as a collection of solar panels.  We want sunlight (energy) to reach all parts of the tree canopy.  Well pruned trees capture the most sun energy to produce healthy fruit buds and ripen sweet and nutritious apples.  Well pruned trees also allow air movement and rapid drying following rains or morning dew.  The result is fewer fungal diseases that can weaken the trees and damage the fruit.
My yearly goal is to prune each of our nearly 3000 trees so they can be healthy and productive in 2013 and beyond.  Last year’s unusually early spring cut my pruning season short so I am starting on the few trees that were not as well pruned last year.  Another benefit of a good annual pruning program is that if we have some goofy weather like the early spring of 2012 the trees can skip a year of pruning with no noticeable loss of fruit quality.