Client's Question: I apparently missed a recent program at MGCC's Our Garden on “Summer Fruit Tree Pruning”. Summer fruit tree pruning is a new concept to me. Can you please provide me with more information?
Help Desk Response: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk with your question about summer fruit tree pruning. Sorry, you missed the Our Garden program on this subject. I hear it was excellent.
In July and August, you can prune out excessively vigorous shoots that shade lower fruiting branches. Use thinning cuts (removing a branch entirely) rather than heading a branch (by cutting off a portion of it) so that you don't stimulate even more growth. You can also train young branches by bending and staking them to grow in the desired direction.
Cherries and Apricots are also typically pruned during the summer before the rain starts (hopefully)--rather than winter--to avoid a branch dieback disease called Eutypa, which can infect wounds made during wet weather.
Wait for winter dormant pruning to remove other crowded or unwanted branches. I have attached a link to a great MGCC article about fruit tree pruning which includes more links to calendars of fruit tree maintenance throughout the year: http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/files/77175.pdf.
Good luck with your summer pruning. Please do not hesitate to contact us again with your questions.
Help Desk of the Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (JLW)
Note: The UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. We can also be reached via telephone: (925) 646-6586, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/ MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/).