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Which tree do I cut when?

Whether you are a hobby gardener or a proud garden owner with a passion for fruit trees, a well-tended garden always includes plant care and thus the annual tree pruning. We will tell you what is important when it comes to pruning trees and, above all, which tree you need to prune and when, in order to be rewarded with juicy fruit in summer!

What is tree pruning for?

If you prefer a well-kept garden or want to increase the yield of your apple tree, regular pruning is essential. Apart from choosing the right tools and the right cutting technique, it is the timing of the pruning that is most important. Whether you should prune in spring, summer, autumn or winter depends largely on the plant itself.

Fruit trees require annual pruning. Thinning out the trees promotes fruit formation. Too much foliage on the tree creates shade and thus prevents a high-yield fruit harvest in summer. Most fruit trees should therefore be pruned in the winter months of February to March (before the buds bud). However, tree pruning is also possible in summer between July and August, depending on the type of plant. Poorly tended or aging fruit trees, which only produce a small yield, should also be brought back into shape with the so-called "rejuvenating pruning" - this should also be done in winter (January to March).

Other tree species (e.g. pine, boxwood, hazelnut or willow) are brought back into a beautiful optical shape with the "topiary", ideally after their flowering period in spring. In principle, it is always a good idea to prune trees when they have no leaves: On the one hand you can better recognize the branches to be cut and on the other hand you tend to do less damage to the tree at this time.

When may you cut trees?

The legal regulations for tree pruning (Paragraph 39 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act) prohibit radical pruning in the period from March to September due to animal and species protection in order not to endanger breeding sites of animals. However: measures that serve the purpose of care, such as shaping and maintenance pruning in the home garden, are permitted. As a hobby gardener, you may therefore maintain and prune your trees in your private garden all year round. Nevertheless, take care of nature and possibly breeding species. Additionally, inform yourself about the exact legal framework and, if applicable, special regulations of your community regarding tree pruning.

Which trees to prune and when?

When is the right time to prune your trees depends entirely on the plant.

Basically, the pruning of fruit trees is recommended in the winter months of February to March (winter pruning). However, there are exceptions: Shortening the so-called water shoots (or water shoots) is best done in summer (summer pruning).

As a rule of thumb: stone fruits (e.g. cherries, peaches or plums) tolerate a summer cut, after or during harvest time, better. Pome fruits (e.g. apple and pear) should be cut in a balanced ratio of winter and summer cut.

You can use the following "Fruit Tree Guide" as a guide to help you find the right cutting time for your fruit tree:

AppleFebruary, March and August
Soft fruitFebruary, March, July and August
PearFebruary, March and August
BlackberryMarch and April
RaspberryJuly and August
CherryJuly and August
PeachMarch, July and August
PlumFebruary and March
WineFebruary, March, July and August
Damson plumFebruary, March and July

What else is important when pruning trees?

In addition to choosing the right tools (scissors and knives), your personal safety is also important when cutting trees. Therefore, make sure you have a safe footing whenever you harvest your fruit or cut your trees. A flexible and safe ladder helps you to minimise the risk of accidents - especially if the ground is uneven.

You can find out which ladders are suitable for your garden maintenance on the page Ladders for tree cutting.

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