Fruit trees require regular pruning to keep producing fine fruit. Young fruit trees with few branches bear big fruit because the fruits get plenty of sunlight. But as trees mature and grow more branches, their leaves force every flower bud to compete for light and nutrients.

Expert pruning assures that a fruit tree maintains a pleasing appearance and produces plentiful, high-quality fruit.

A young fruit tree should be trained early on to enable it to "grow into" its ideal self. Since different trees bear fruits of differing heaviness, sensitive pruning should respect the specific needs of each species.

For most trees, ShadyTree experts encourage growth of a central leader trunk. We like to monitor it and prune to prevents its becoming top-heavy with fruit, which risks limb breakage. We also prune for aesthetics, keeping tree branches from interfering with each other, which, happily, also makes for forming good fruit. We can also prune for optimal tree height, keeping fruit within safe picking distance.

Time to prune:

Citrus trees: We generally prune citrus trees in the summer to prevent frost damage, which can occur when trees are pruned during chill winter months.

Other fruit trees: November through February is the best time to prune other fruit trees in the Bay Area.