Fruit tree cut – A guide with pictures

Cut fruit tree

Those who regularly plant their fruit trees with a fruit tree can look forward to a more productive harvest and healthy trees. Which cutting measures cause what and where to set the cut correctly, you can find out here.

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If you bring fruit trees into the garden, you can not only enjoy fresh fruit of the highest quality. Fruit trees are also a real adornment for the garden. However, you have to do some work to keep the trees healthy so that you can harvest plenty of fruit. Above all, the fruit tree section is important, because it lays the foundation for a strong growth, a lush flowering and consequently also for a rich harvest. Anyone who thinks that a cut is sufficient when planting the fruit trees is mistaken. If you want to achieve a high-yield crop for many years, then you have to cut your fruit trees over and over again. When and how you do it correctly, we explain in more detail below.

Why do you have to cut fruit trees at all?

Fruit trees need to be cut regularly for several reasons. On the one hand, the fruit tree section is used to maintain the health of the tree. Because, as with so many other plants, pathogens such as lice or fungi can spread on the branches even in the fruit tree. Only those who remove the affected branches, ensures a healthy fruit plant.

Over time, some branches but also lazy. It is then necessary to remove these branches, after all, branches without flowers do not produce any fruit. So it means making room for new and especially flowering branches. In this way you promote fruiting. Incidentally, the same applies to deadwood and wild shoots. These must be removed to make room for new, healthy branches.

If you want to keep fruit trees healthy and harvest a lot of fruit, you have to reach for it regularly. Without the cutting measures, fruit trees would grow rather wildly and not bear much fruit.

Which tools do I need for the fruit tree cut?

The right tool is essential for fruit tree cutting. Without the right tool, you can not make clean cuts. In addition, the cutting measures otherwise become a, above all dangerous, strength act. Therefore always make sure that all tools are sharp. This facilitates the cutting work and, in addition, clean interfaces generally close much faster. In addition, they prevent that tree crayfish can arise. Recommended tools for the fruit tree cutting are for example:

Bypass Pruner:

Depending on the branch thickness, different tools are required. For smaller and especially thin branches, for example, a bypass pruner with roller handle is ideal. It is constructed like a conventional pair of scissors and is therefore recommended for the clean cutting of thin branches. The roll handle also ensures better handling.

Anvil pruning shears or pruning shears:

For somewhat thicker branches, however, we recommend the use of an anvil pruning shears with a handle. It has only one cutting edge, which hits with some pressure on a piece of metal. It is thus ideal for cutting through harder or dead branches.

Alternatively, you can also use a pruner. Here is one with telescope extension advisable, because you do not necessarily need a ladder for the cutting work. Such scissors with telescopic extension are also called cutting giraffes. They are extendable to a certain length and equipped with a steel spring and a pull chain. In this way you can cut the fruit trees in several meters height, without having to spend much strength.

Branch saw:

If you need to remove a relatively large branch, it is best to use a pruning saw. This is also available with a telescopic rod. However, with this tool a little skill is required, because dealing with it is not so easy. Therefore, it is best to practice a bit beforehand.


Anyone who can not handle a tool that has a telescopic handle, must go to the ladder to cut branches in height. Be sure to stand securely and always cut the branches so they will not fall on you.

When is the right time for the fruit tree cut?

In addition to the technology, the fruit tree care also depends on the time. If you want a rich harvest, cut in late spring or summer. This slows down the vigor of the tree and promotes the flower bud. So the fruit crates are full in the fall. In apple and pear trees, hobby gardeners should, for example, reach for the scissors in June and shoot out long shoots (see parenting section). And because after the harvest is before the harvest, followed in the late winter again the education cut. Because only a tree that stays in shape, provides again in the following year for plenty of fruit. Only with frost applies: Stay away from the scissors.

Here is a small overview of when which fruit trees need to be cut:

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How to cut fruit trees properly


Before we come to the individual cutting measures, here is a small definition of terms, so you understand everything better later:

Center drive:

The center drive is the drive that forms the trunk extension.

Leading drives:

Are shoots that spring from the center drive at an angle between 45 ° and 90 °.

Water Schosser:

Also called water shoots, are unbranched long shoots that shoot up and carry no flower buds. They are always cut directly on the old wood.

Juice balance:

The juice balance is created when you shorten all the leading drives to the same height.

Overview of phases of tree trimming

As already mentioned, fruit trees are cut in many different ways. First of all, there is a cut that you have to do once and right after planting. This is called accordingly planting. Then follow the annual parenting and later the maintenance and rejuvenation cut. For these cuts, you must do the following:

Planting section:

© 2017 Fiskars Group

What many do not realize is that certain plants need to be cut directly after planting in the garden. This also applies, for example, to fruit trees. After planting you should shorten strong shoots by half and weak by one third. It is important that you pay attention to the so-called juice balance, so shorten all leading drives to the same height. You must also shorten the middle drive. This should, however, be 10 inches longer than the leading drives.

In principle: When cutting always pay attention to buds that grow outwards. About five millimeters above these buds you can cut the branches diagonally. On the other hand, thicker branches should be cut as close to the branch as possible.

© 2017 Fiskars Group

You must then perform the parenting from the second year of planting. It’s all about clearing out the crown and making sure that the fruit gets more light and that the harvest is generally much more productive. In this cut, remove shoots that grow parallel to the guides, intersect or grow inward. In addition, bring the leading sprockets of the crown back into the juice balance. To ensure year after year that the fruit tree bears abundant fruits and diseases and pests have no chance.

Grade average:

© 2017 Fiskars Group

You do not have to do the conservation cut in the first years of the tree. Only when the fruit tree is about 10 years old. This cut removes everything that hinders or even prevents a rich harvest. So say shoots that

  • have grown inside
  • standing too close
  • to hang low,
  • grow towards the ground,
  • touch,
  • shoot vertically (water shot),
  • have died.

After this cut, the tree should bear plenty of fruit again next year.

Rejuvenation pruning:

Over time, you will see that the harvest is always smaller. At least then it is time for a rejuvenation cut. This cut is about making the fruit tree thoroughly. For the time being, radically cut back leading gears. Afterwards, you have to do everything that is required in the conservation section. So say dead, inwardly growing, touching, etc. Remove branches.

The instructions in the video:

Video 2

Seal cuts or not?

Many hobby gardeners take after the fruit tree cut on so-called wound protection, also called artificial bark, back. These then apply them to large cuts to prevent germs from entering the tree through the wounds. Experts advise against it, because wound protection agents can even do the opposite. Because the artificial bark is cracked, water can penetrate. And that in turn favors a fungal infection. So you renounce such means. Finally, trees can heal themselves thanks to the so-called callus, a natural wound tissue.

Where to cut?

Do not just dump the clippings on the compost. You can also chop it and then use it to cover beds. The pruning is then comparable to bark mulch, which is known to protect the soil from drying out and also protects it from heavy rainfall. In addition, the green section also prevents weeds from spreading. So you have so much less to do in the garden. Incidentally, you can also make mulch from other materials. Here is our contribution to using mulch properly .

Further reading tips on this topic:

Cut the peach tree – Here’s how it’s done
Cut the quince tree – Timing & instructions for the cut
Cut the plum trees – How to do it properly
Cut the cherry trees correctly

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