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Columnar Fruit Trees Need Little Pruning But Still Require Regular Care

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If you have a small garden and are tired of limiting the types of fruit trees you have due to space, you might want to try planting some columnar trees. These trees grow upright and stay very compact, with fruiting branches extending only a few inches from the trunk. Apples are the most common type, and columnar peach trees are now available. While the trees still need some space, you will be able to fit more of these trees into your yard without worrying about trimming off fruiting branches. However, columnar fruit trees do still require some trimming on a regular basis.

Prune Winter Damage

Check the trees in late winter or early spring, when the tree does not have leaves and has not yet started sprouting new growth. Look for broken or withered branches (as short as those branches usually are) and any branches that look like they're developing diseases. Prune those branches back to healthy growth so that all of the diseased or damaged portion is removed.

Control Overachievers

Columnar fruit trees don't get very wide at all, but sometimes a few branches can start to grow out a little more than the rest of the plant. Lightly trim those back so that any fruit growing on those branches doesn't cause the tree to lean. Columnar fruit trees are stellar producers for their size, and the central trunk is sturdy -- but it's not a thick, strong trunk like the ones on full-size fruit trees. Keeping the tree's columnar shape intact helps the tree avoid being pulled off balance by the extended branches.

Keep It Somewhat Open

Before leaves grow in during spring and obscure the trunk, check the branches to see if any have twigs from last season started growing at odd angles. Trim these out so that the short branches can get a little more air. The compact nature of columnar trees means that ventilation space between branches is at a minimum, and you have to remove any branches that might interfere with ventilation or growth.

If you decide you'd still like to have larger fruit trees and are willing to deal with the extra pruning, talk to a tree service company, such as E & R Landscaping & Trees, about which cultivars might be well-suited to your yard. With all the different sizes of trees available, you should be able to find ones that won't require the tree pruning service to come by too much.


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