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Three Basic Methods of Pruning Fruit Trees

Jul 04,2024 | Kebtek Store

Three Basic Methods of Pruning Fruit Trees

Master These, and Pruning Won't Be a Problem

Pruning fruit trees is a critical horticultural technique that helps shape the tree, design appropriate branch angles, reduce the number of main branches, and consequently decrease the height and thickness of the tree canopy. This improves the plant's photosynthetic conditions and increases the effective leaf area. Additionally, combined with the rational use of fertilizers and water, it can further enhance the quality of the tree's leaves and photosynthetic efficiency, providing favorable conditions for flowering and fruiting.

Pruning fruit trees can improve both the yield and quality of the fruit. There are three basic methods of pruning: 

heading back, thinning, and renewal pruning. Here, we will introduce these three methods and discuss how 

to apply them to improve fruit tree productivity.


1. Heading Back

Heading back involves cutting back one-year old branches to promote branching and growth. This stimulates the buds below the cut to sprout, increasing the number and length of branches. Depending on the degree of heading back, it can be classified into light, medium, and heavy heading back.


  • Light Heading Back: This method involves cutting off part of the branch while retaining some leaves, promoting mild growth. It is suitable for fruit trees that need slight stimulation, such as apple and pear  trees.
  • Medium Heading Back: This method involves cutting off about half of the branch while retaining some leaves, promoting moderate growth. It is suitable for fruit trees that need moderate stimulation, such as peach and plum trees.
  • Heavy Heading Back: This method involves cutting off most of the branch, leaving only a small part at the base, promoting vigorous growth. It is suitable for fruit trees that need strong stimulation, such as 
  • cherry trees.

2. Thinning

Thinning involves removing dense, crossing, overlapping, or weak branches from the base to improve the ventilation and light conditions of the canopy. Thinning reduces nutrient consumption and promotes the growth and development of the remaining branches. Depending on the degree of thinning, it can be classified into light, medium, and heavy thinning.


  • Light Thinning: This method involves removing a few dense or weak branches to improve the canopy's ventilation and light conditions. It is suitable for situations where fruit trees are growing vigorously.
  • Medium Thinning: This method involves removing most of the dense or weak branches, leaving only a few strong branches. It is suitable for situations where fruit trees are growing weakly.
  • Heavy Thinning: This method involves removing most of the branches, leaving only a small part at the base. It is suitable for rejuvenating old trees or reshaping the canopy.