Pruning is a technique that you can use to make it easier for yourself to harvest fruit and implement fruit fly control methods such as exclusion, cover spraying, baiting and sanitation. It involves pruning the fruit trees in your home garden to a manageable size.
Mount Alexander Shire Council and the City of Greater Bendigo, in partnership with Agriculture Victoria, produced a series of educational videos on managing Queensland fruit fly. This episode covers pruning.
- Easier to implement particular fruit fly control methods.
- Smaller crop yields are more manageable.
- Helps eliminate potential sources of fruit fly infestations from unharvested fruit left high up on tree branches.
- Smaller fruit trees gives you the option of planting more, different varieties.
- Sometimes a better quality and tastier fruit is produced from a pruned tree.
What makes it right for you?
Pruning will be right for you if you:
- Either own your own home or are renting.
- Prefer to use low impact fruit fly control methods.
- Either want to help prevent fruit fly from establishing in the home garden or to help control an existing fruit fly infestation.
- Are willing and physically able to do the work, or can find someone else to help.
- Have a surplus of fruit growing in your garden.
Factors affecting success
- Usage in combination with other fruit fly control methods, as other sources of fruit flies may still be able to infest your crop.
- Pruning to a size where you can easily harvest fruit and implement your chosen fruit fly control methods.
- Usage of proper pruning technique to minimise harm to your fruit tree.
- Pruning can potentially be hazardous work, so take care
- Pruning needs to be done usually each year to keep the tree to a manageable size and growing in a balanced shape
- Pruning can reduce your crop yield, so if want more, consider planting more fruit trees.
- Before you prune your fruit trees, consider the height of the tree that you can easily harvest fruit from, as well as the ease that you able to implement any fruit fly control methods that you are going to use. If you do not know how to prune a fruit tree, get some advice from either your local nursery, gardening books or websites. Using correct pruning technique will help you prevent damaging the tree and prune it for best crop results.
- If you find that you are not suited for pruning, consider having your fruit trees removed and grow dwarf varieties or espalier fruit trees instead. Generally, these types of fruit trees require only light pruning from time to time.
- If you know that you will not use all all of the fruit that the host tree or plant will produce, remove excess fruits in the early budding stage, especially on the higher reaches of the plant.
When to do it
The best times of the year to prune your fruit trees is in late winter or early spring, this is when your trees are generally dormant.