PRUNING IS ESSENTIAL
Pruning is an essential orchard management practice and should take place for the entire life of the tree. In the early “training” years, it is aimed at manipulating growth in order to improve the framework and structure of the tree for achieving optimum yield potential. In declining years, the emphasis shifts to promoting rejuvenation and ensuring maximum sunlight to penetrate the tree canopy.
Advantages of pruning
- Improved light distribution into the canopy which is essential for flower bud development, fruit set and growth.
- Improved pest control by allowing better spray penetration.
- Better air movement throughout the canopy, improving drying conditions and thereby reducing the severity of diseases such as anthracnose.
- Increased fruit size because excess flower buds are removed.
- Growth of new shoots with high quality flower buds.
- Better balance between vegetative and reproductive growth.
- Higher concentrations of the hormones, cytokinin, gibberellin and auxin are found in pruned trees.
- Encouragement of regular quality crops thereby reducing the alternate bearing effect.
- Successful regrowth of diseased or damaged wood.
- Opportunity to improve the bearing structure of the tree thereby increasing production potential.
- Management of tree height.
- Encouragement of lateral branching by breaking apical dominance.