Dormant pruning: the act of managing the size, fruit production, and canopy density through strategic pruning.
We perform this task January–March, typically on fruit and nut trees, berry and nut-bearing shrubs. We also prune evergreens and shrubs, the principles are the same:
- Begin with structural cuts (usually the largest cuts), thinning out old wood and the 3 “Ds” (Dead, Dying, Diseased).
- Structural cuts.
- Secondary scaffold branches, leaders and water sprouts.
- Strategic tipping—we finish with a healthy shape and size.
We do this type of pruning in the winter so that the plant is dormant and doesn’t “bleed out” from the wounds that are created. The wounds can be to large branches, or to apical buds on the tip of a stem. The pruning is usually done over three years since we adhere to the conservation ethics.
We don’t want to cause any harm to the plant since they are living breathing creatures just like you and me. A gentle touch goes a long way.
We strategize through the course of the 3 years to accomplish the tasks, and needs of the human; e.g. if you are only concerned with fruit production our work will look a lot different than if you want a visual barrier from the noisy neighbour.
Seasonal tasks begin in January (winter), in spring we do feeding and mulch to provide food, to balance the equilibrium between root sourced foods, and photosynthesis sourced foods.
In late summer, whips are usually cut in 1/2, then winter protection applied. So goes the system, through the calendar year, for 3 rotations until the expected effect has been accomplished.
It can be likened to a haircut, in that there is always more that can be done, and you can change the effects of the “look” based on needs, wishes and desire; e.g. fruit production, esthetic needs, or practical considerations like shade.
A haircut for nature to meet a prescribed outcome. 🙂 It is a science, and a heritage skill wrapped up into a task that can be taught, or done by Helping Nature Heal.