Prune for More Flowers and Fruit

by DesertRose
2 Materials
2 Hours
My husband and I are weekend gardeners. We do it for relaxation not a profession. However, we do see some remarkable results from our excursions in our postage stamp yard. You don't have to have a lot of room to raise flowers and fruit. One early spring habit should be to prune bushes and trees to produce more flowers and fruit.
We live in the high plateau region of the Northwest and spring arrives late. We usually see snow as late as Memorial weekend the end of May. Pruning should begin just before you see any new growth in the spring, or as soon after as possible. We grow both flowers and fruit in our postage stamp sized yard.
Have you ever eaten home made crab apple jam or butter? It is so much better than any jam or apple butter you can buy. If you will not be canning or freezing fruit, it still helps the local wildlife when you plant trees and berries for them. This was from a former home we owned with a large orchard, but we expect to get apples soon on our 3 year old crab apple trees. There are many benefits from raising your own fruit and berries as well as flowers.
My husband trimmed our roses back to where there was no green showing. He also felt of the branches to feel them green bend or snap from dead wood. He trimmed the dead off. This shows the pink rose bush before and after he trimmed it.
The raspberries or black berries can be trimmed the same as the roses. We prune off the dead or brittle shoots on top, but not where any leaves are beginning to grow. Notice how high above the white trim they grew.
The same raspberries after the trim: notice they are about the height of the gray trim. He pruned above small branches coming off the main stem, not below them.
When we received our new cherry bush this is how it arrived in a bag. It had been trimmed back to the first couple of branches, just above the branches. Now it is as big as the rose bushes. We hope to see some blossoms this year on it.
Can you find 2 things wrong in this photo? First he is cutting below two new branches. Second, he should be wearing gloves for protection from the thorns. Always throw the pruned branches of the roses or raspberries in a box to throw away. This will prevent pets, small mammals, or barefoot children from stepping on them.
From previous trees we raised, here was one load of cherries made into pie filling and cherry jam. We canned 4 cases of them.This was due to good pruning practice and care of the trees.
We picked enough raspberries last year to make several batches of jam from our 3 year old bush. It only produced numerous berries after we pruned it the third spring. Pruning brings more fruit and growth.
You can see we had large berries and so many they weighed down the branches all summer. One berry is too ripe, a couple ripe, and more new berries yet to ripen. This bush just could not make enough berries after a severe pruning in the spring. It would seem that pruning would harm the plants, but indeed it makes them bear more fruit.
Last year was the first year we had apples grow on our regular apple tree. The first harvest is so exciting! We will probably prune it for the first time in early spring or late winter next year. Trees need pruning where you see branches criss-cross and also any suckers at the bottom of the trunk. You want new branches to go skyward. Dead branches also get pruned, of course.
It does not take a great deal of care or maintenance to keep bushes and trees pruned. Once a year is all it takes, before the real growth begins in the spring. For us that is April. For places in Southern USA we did it in late February. It depends on when your winter is over and spring weather begins the new growth.
Resources for this project:
Box for carrying off the pruned parts
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  • Wendy Wendy on May 02, 2018

    Wow, what a lovely thing to be able to do :)

    • DesertRose DesertRose on May 02, 2018

      yes, we love our weekend gardening. We learn by mistakes as much as reading to learn.