Skip to content. Pruning of fruit trees is important to develop and maintain productive wood that in turn produces high quality fruit. It is usually best to do light to moderate pruning each year rather than do more severe pruning at several year intervals. Pruning can be very confusing and intimidating.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: 5 Reasons Fruit Trees Aren’t Fruiting or Stopped FruitingContent:
- Fruit Tree Care: Removing Tree Suckers & Watersprouts
- How to grow figs
- How to grow lots of fruit on your citrus trees
- Bud Grafting of Fruit Trees
- Biennial Fruiting
- Pruning & Training Apple & Pear Trees
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing Apricots
For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension. Find more of our publications and books at extension. Flowering crabapples are some of the most popular trees in the Maine landscape. They are generally hardy throughout the state, although they can be injured and even killed in exceptionally cold winter. They are easily grown and widely available. Many superior cultivars are resistant to diseases that can be problematic.
Few plants offer such outstanding beauty throughout the year. Crabapples flower for a period of two days between mid-May and early June. The white, pink or red buds open to single or double flowers, which range from white to purplish red. Most crabapples flower in midseason June 1 in central Maine , but a careful selection of early, midseason and late cultivars can provide a succession of flowering in the landscape. Like many eating apple cultivars, some older types of crabapples tend to flower in alternate years.
Most newer introductions flower heavily every year. New leaves in spring may be green or bronze. Most crabapples do not have outstanding fall color, but some do turn orange, bronze or yellow. Fruit colors include yellow, orange, red and purple.
Some are fully colored by August, while others do not reach full color until September or October. The fruit of a few types of crabapples drop soon after ripening, but the fruit of others remains on the trees until the next spring. Fruit should be a major consideration when choosing a crabapple. The persistence of the colorful fruit makes it at least as important in the landscape as the spring flowers.
Some larger-fruited types are also good for making jams, jellies, and preserves. Smaller-fruited crabapples are prized as bird food.
Birds eat some types in fall and early winter and leave more sour types until spring. Crabapples range in height from five feet to 40 feet. Many crabapples are rounded, but others are upright-spreading or narrow-upright in shape. A few have a graceful weeping form.
These various forms make the crabapple a perfect choice for many locations and provide much interest in the landscape throughout the year. Flowering crabapples have been planted in American landscapes since the late s.
Their outstanding attributes make them an excellent choice for many locations. A single tree planted in front of evergreens creates a focal point in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Dwarf types are effective in borders and even in flower gardens. Crabapples are good street trees, especially where overhead wires prevent the use of larger trees.
They also provide shade in the small urban yard. The flowers are beautiful when viewed at close range, and provide a small urban yard. The flowers are beautiful when viewed at close range, and provide a spectacle when trees are massed together in a larger landscape.
The planting site should have full sun. Crabapples tolerate a wide range of soil types with a pH in the range of 5. Test the soil before planting. Good soil drainage is essential. Very dry or wet soils should be avoided. If properly cared for, crabapples perform well in narrow planting strips, large containers and planting boxes. At the nursery, many crabapples are grown three to six feet in height in the field, then dug in the fall and stored cold without soil over the winter.
In spring, these bare root trees are available for planting. When handling a bare root tree, plan ahead and plant as quickly as possible. Choose a site, test the soil and amend if necessary. When you obtain the plant, make every effort to prevent the roots from drying out.
Place the tree where it is protected from hot sun and wind. Do not leave the roots in water longer than overnight. Then follow these steps:. Some crabapples are grown and sold in containers. These trees are best planted in spring but can be successfully planted later in the growing season if the site is well chosen, if good planting practices are followed, and water is supplied as discussed above.
When handling a container-grown crabapple, carefully remove it from the container, keeping the root ball intact. Dig the hole as deep as the root ball but never deeper. The tree, when placed in the hole, should rest on a firm, native soil. If any roots girdle the base of the trunk, cut them. If roots circle around the base of the root ball, remove them.
If the surface of the root ball is thickly covered with a dense mat of roots, use a sharp knife to cut an inch into the root ball, from top to bottom, in three or four evenly spaced places around the root ball.
Place the tree in the hole, and continue as discussed for bare root trees. Their root balls are protected with natural-fiber or plastic burlap. Like container-grown crabapples, these are best planted in spring but can be successfully planted later if care is taken. Dig a hole only as deep as the depth of the root ball, and place the plant into the hole on firm native soil.
Remove the ropes, nails or other fastenings from the burlap. If left intact, the burlap can hinder root penetration into the native soil and can cause long term problems for the tree. If the burlap is plastic, remove it entirely, disturbing the root ball as little as possible. If the burlap is a natural fiber, either remove it, or fold it into the bottom of the hole, or cut it near the base of the root ball. Remove girdling roots if present, and continue as described for bare root trees.
After planting, prune out only damaged branches and suckers at the base of the tree these should be removed whenever noticed. The tree can be pruned for shape in the spring the next season see Bulletin , Pruning Woody Landscape Plants.
Several diseases can cause significant aesthetic damage to crabapples. If severe enough, they can cause permanent damage. You can prevent these diseases by choosing plants wisely. Many crabapples are resistant to some or all of these problems. The crabapples listed in this publication are rated for their resistance to these problems.
By choosing resistant crabapples, you can avoid the need for chemical controls in the future. Apple Scab is the most serious disease threat to apples and crabapples in Maine. The apple scab fungus overwinters in old infected leaves and on previous-year twigs of affected crabapples. The first infection of the season occurs in early June.
Secondary infections can occur during periods of wet weather throughout the season. The fungus causes dull, smoky, irregular spots on leaves. The spots turn olive-colored, and leaves may turn yellow and fall as early as midsummer. The fruits on affected trees develop circular, rough spots, which turn from olive to brown to black. Fireblight is a bacterium that overwinters in infection sites on apple, crabapple, hawthorn, amelanchier, mountain ash, and pear.
Splashing rain spreads infections to flowers in spring, and nectar-seeking insects can move the bacteria from tree to tree. Infections first develop on blossoms, which appear water-soaked, and shrivel and die rapidly.
Leaves at the tips of branches turn brown and die, but remain attached to the dead twigs. Fireblight advances quickly and often kills trees in drier climates, but it can often be controlled in Maine through the selection of resistant plants, and early pruning of affected shoots. Cedar-Apple Rust is a rusts fungus. Rust are fungi that require two host plants to complete their life cycle. In fall, spores from these cups are windblown to Eastern Red Cedar. Eighteen to 20 months later a different kind of spore is produced, which can reinfect crabapples.
Heavy infection of cedar-apple rust can cause early leaf drop and plant stress in crabapples. This problem can best be controlled by choosing resistant cultivars. Powdery Mildew is a fungus that can attack the flowers, leaves, and fruits of crabapples.
Generally, it causes narrow, cupped young leaves with a powdery white fungal growth on the leaf surfaces. The fungus overwinters in dormant buds and causes new infections in warm humid spring weather. Although unsightly, it generally causes little damage, and it can be avoided through careful plant selection. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects, generally pale green. They feed by piercing and sucking juices from the undersides of young leaves, causing them to curl downward to twist.
Aphids also secrete a sticky honeydew, which falls on leaves below and supports the growth of black sooty mold fungus. Aphids can be controlled by knocking them off branch tips with a forceful stream of water.
As the seasons change, we are entering the time of year for grafting fruit trees. The best time of year for most types of grafting is in the dormant season, or in the winter when the plant is not actively growing. However, bud grafting the focus of this article is usually done in the late summer. In general, grafting is a technique used to propagate specific fruit varieties by inserting a piece of a desired plant into the rootstock or branch of another plant, which if successful grows out to be a new plant or branch of the transferred variety. In addition to producing new trees of selected varieties, grafting can also be used to grow more than one variety or even different kinds of fruit on one tree.
Pawpaw are small trees that don't grow past feet. by deer suppresses the growth of these species, clearing the way for pawpaw.
Our arborists often get asked this question: When should we have our trees trimmed? Generally, the best time to prune or trim trees and shrubs is during the winter months. From November through March, most trees are dormant which makes it the ideal time for the following reasons:. Trees are less susceptible to insects or disease. Trees heal faster, meaning that by the time spring rolls around, your tree will be happy and healthy again.
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Many trees and shrubs produce a fruit, not just edible fruits, but ornamental. These fruits are also the seed pod of the tree or shrub and can be bothersome, messy and unwanted. Trees and shrubs like crab apple, maple, liquid amber, sweet gum, flowering pear and even pine produce fruit that may not be desired by a homeowner. Unless you can hand pick off or cut the blossoms off a small flowering shrub or tree that produces fruit later, the alternative is to spray a chemical hormonal fruit eliminator on the tree or shrub. The most effective and widely used chemical for this is ethephon.
As leaves fall from the trees each autumn, branches formerly covered in a canopy of dense foliage come out of hiding. Although many gardeners would rather never deal with the falling mess of leaves, I relish this time as an opportunity to inspect each tree canopy. It's now that I carefully make note of any branches I may need to remove from my trees. Taking advantage of these dormant months gives me time to develop a plan for pruning and trimming trees in my landscaping. Tree limbs are pruned for multiple reasons, all of which result in a better looking and better performing tree.
Not all fruiting plants require an annual prune, and some new dwarf cultivars of apples, peaches, apricots and nectarines have been bred to eliminate the.
The cold, short days have seemed like a good excuse to stay indoors. Succulent, green spring shoots are emerging from piles of rotting leaves that cover my borders and the snowdrops are out. And my garden really needs it, especially the fruit trees.RELATED VIDEO: How to Prune a Plum Tree
Periodical cicada Magicicada sp. The only damage cicadas cause to plants results from the egg laying habits. Female cicadas use an appendage, called an ovipositor, to gouge longitudinal slits in twigs into which they then deposit eggs. The ovipositor cannot harm people.
This is one of the most frequent questions we are asked. The answer is not straightforward as there are many factors that affect when a young fruit tree will start to produce fruit.
In this article, we're going to focus on what tree suckers and watersprouts are, and why they should be removed from grafted fruit trees and nut trees. Sometimes, when we garden, it's thrilling just watching things grow — but not all growth is beneficial. Suckers and watersprouts are some common examples of fast new growth that take away energy from plants and trees. In this article, we're going to focus on what tree suckers and watersprouts are and why they should be removed from grafted fruit trees and nut trees. Allowing suckers and watersprouts to remain on your fruit tree or nut tree will only take away from the vegetative and fruiting wood you want to grow strong and healthy.
Walnuts are slow growing and make a lovely life companion. Aromatic pinnate foliage, pretty catkins, a graceful canopy and tasty harvest make this a truly majestic garden tree. Native to western Asia, the common or Persian walnut tree reached Britain in the sixteenth century, and has been grown as a source of food, fuel and timber.