Pruning Fruit Trees in Winter

Winter is the time to take a good look at your deciduous fruit trees and do any necessary pruning. It’s time to stand back and examine the form of your trees when they are dormant, with no leaves, flowers, or fruit, which makes it easy to see the structure of each tree and to decide what needs to be done and which cuts to make. 

Pruning in winter is important to maintain light penetration into a tree's canopy, to train and maintain the tree's shape and height, and to keep it healthy and encourage vigour. Mid-late winter is the time to prune your trees knowing that the spring is not far off and your tree will soon heal the wounds of the prune and burst into new growth. Prune only when necessary as over-pruning can reduce a fruit tree’s productivity. 

When you prune your tree in the late winter, you will spur vigorous growth. The reason for this is because you are selecting the best branches to keep, while removing the lower quality branches. This means that when the spring comes, the tree won't waste its energy fuelling the growth of poor quality branches. Instead, it will focus that energy on the best branches. This will ensure that each branch gets plenty of energy and produces better quality fruit.

Tips for pruning/training

  • Always remove any dead, diseased, damaged and crossing or rubbing branches.
  • Aim to have a nice open framework.
  • Prune to an out-facing bud.
  • Cut back tall whippy growth by at least a third.
  • Prune in winter until the desired height and shape is reached, after this winter pruning should be restricted to tidying up framework, spurs and laterals.
  • Remove any branches close to the ground and any small suckers or unwanted growth at the base.
  • Encourage horizontal/fruiting growth by pruning in summer and by tying/weighing branches down.
  • Always use clean, sharp tools and sterilise your equipment between trees. And make sure any cuts you make are clean and neat.

More

Asparagus

Autumn Vegie Gardening

Bernadette Brady chooses the vegetables to plant when temperatures are falling

Be Your Own Kitchen Gardener

Robyn Fox explains the secrets behind growing heirlooms for Heronswood's restaurant

Can we trust others to grow our food?

Clive Blazey talks about the destruction of our food quality

Caring for Fruit Trees

Caring for Fruit Trees

Chillies: Some like them hot, some don’t!

Gail Thomas explains how to grow and cook with these tender perennials

Community Food Gardening

Bernadette Brady explains how community food gardening overcomes social alienation

Creating an Edible Landscape

Bill Bampton talks about the challenges of combining beauty and functionality in the garden

Diggers 2021 heirloom trials update

Why first-hand trialling and testing our vegetable and flower seed varieties is an important part of the Diggers practice.

Edible hedges

Marcelle Swanson recommends planting edible hedges for privacy and productivity

Extend your life by eating lots of fibre

Clive Blazey explains why processed and fast foods are making us sick

FRUIT TREE WINTER CARE

Winter is the perfect time to get into the garden and tend to your fruit trees to achieve the best possible crops over the warmer months!

Good Health Begins In the Gut

Heather McKern asks whether we can trust others to grow our food

Grow Your Own Garlic

Garlic expert Penny Woodward explains why it can be so tricky to grow

Grow Your Own Greens

Bernadette Brady shows us the fibre foods to plant in autumn and grow through winter

Grow Your Own Herbs

Bill Bampton's top ten points for herb growing

Growing Grapes

Growing Olives

Growing Olives

Growing Your Own in the Edible City

Indira Naido relates her adventures in gardening on her inner city balcony

Healing herbs for health and wellbeing

Heather McKern has a confession to make … she loves herbs.

Heirloom Fruit

Marcus Ryan explains why fruit doesn't taste as good as it used to

Heirloom Silverbeet and Beetroot

Clive Blazey explains how almost all the vegetables we eat today were available before 1900!

Herb Garden

Growing herbs is both joyous and rewarding with kitchen garden crops making the perfect addition to any meal.

Herbs - more than a kitchen garden

Herbs - more than a kitchen garden

IT'S TOMATO TIME!

Jac Semmler tells you why spring is the time to get excited about growing heirloom tomatoes

Making a beautiful garden edible

Bill Bampton explains how to create a food border by combining the ornamental potential of edibles with the edible potential of ornamentals

Plant Based Fibre

Arabella Forge explains why you should eat more fruit and vegetables

Preserving your harvest

Summer offers an abundance of fruit, vegetables and herbs suitable to preserve and use throughout the rest of the year. Join Marcelle as she discusses some exciting items for preserving!

Pumpkins Better Than Butternut

Evette Jungwirth ponders on producing the perfect pumpkin

Q&A - Cane Fruit

Cane fruit guru Phil Rowe answers your questions about berries

Q&A - Citrus

Citrus expert Ian Tolley answers your questions about citrus trees and fruit

Q&A - Fruit Trees

Julian Blackhirst answers your questions about summer pruning and general care of fruit trees

Q&A - Tomato Growing

Our experts Julie, Tim and Evette answer your questions about growing tomatoes

Rhubarb

Rhubarb would have to be one of the most productive and easy-to-grow perennial food plants.

Start Your First Food Garden

Bernadette Brady encourages you to start your own vegie garden

Starting a vegie patch

Growing your own nutritious vegetables is cost effective and highly rewarding.

Strawberries

Strawberries

The Diggers Mini-Plot

Don't go to the supermarket, grow your own vegies at home!

The urban herbalist

Bill Bampton's top ten herbs to grow in containers

Unusual edibles

Arno King introduces southern gardeners to some northern vegetable staples that succeed down south

Vegie Patch Basics

Vegie Patch Basics

What’s wrong with the food forest concept?

Organic gardener Julian Blackhirst questions the ‘bare foot, lazy gardener’ idea
Back To Top
Member Exclusives
DIGGERS KNEES
DIGGERS KNEES
HARDWARE: HDKN
Keep your knees dry, clean and comfortable with these wearable knee pads. Made from memory foam and water resistant neoprene, these cushioned knee pads feature a comfortable and durable straps to help hold them in place. Not only will they stop your knees getting damp while kneeling they also offer extra support by relieving direct pressure on y...
Member $35.00
Checking stock, please wait..
A YEAR OF VEGIES - SEED BOX
A YEAR OF VEGIES - SEED BOX
SEEDS: S921
18 SEED PACKETS: The gift that keeps on giving for a year. This collection will guarantee 12 months of heirloom veges. The recipient will receive seeds for each season ensuring a supply of heirloom vegetables. The pack contains a total of 18 packets of vegetables seeds (Beetroot, Bean, Broccoli, Carrot, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Onion, Pea, Silverbe...
Member $59.95
Checking stock, please wait..
2 year membership + Garden Calendar and 2 Seed Packets
2 year membership + Garden Calendar and 2 Seed Packets
Membership: MNE2CA2
Join the club and receive an exclusive gift, valued at $30. A stunning calendar featuring key dates, a guide to which seeds to sow each month and plenty of space to add your own events. Plus two free packets of some popular seeds – Tomato 'Black Cherry' and Lettuce Heirloom Mix.
Member $79.00
Non-Member $79.00
Checking stock, please wait..