Without regular pruning most types of fruit trees lose vigor and become too tall and cluttered. Stone fruits especially require heavy annual pruning. The fruit bearing shoots only live for 2-3 years, so pruning stimulates constant growth of new fruiting wood. And left unpruned, most trees will get so crowded with growth that the lower and interior parts become too shaded. The shaded areas then die back and stop producing fruit, leaving only the top and outer branches bearing. Excessively long branches are also subject to breakage.
So pruning season is time for some tough love, where each large tree will receive hundreds of cuts. There is an art to pruning to get the best results, but in reality any pruning is better than none. The heavier the pruning the more new growth results, so over time wood removal is the best way to create the size and shape of tree you want, while keeping it healthy. The photos below show one of our 35 year old apricots before and after pruning.
|Large apricot tree before pruning|
|The same tree after pruning|