August 4, 2021

Pruning -  \ ˈprün iŋnoun

The technique of thinning out (trimming or cutting away) branches and foliage on trees or shrubs in order to support growth and maintenance.  

Pruning in the Forest Garden

Pruning promotes healthy and vigorous growth. By thinning out excess branches on a fruit tree, farmers are able to increase the quality and quantity of their harvest. Rather than spending precious energy on excess branch growth, a pruned fruit tree will be able to focus its energy on building a strong root system and growing healthy, high-quality fruits.  

Additionally, pruning helps Forest Garden farmers prevent and control the spread of disease. By frequently checking on trees and pruning regularly, farmers are able to identify diseases early enough to remove the damaged and diseased branches. Early detection and pruning will stop diseases from spreading across the tree. When tree health is maintained, trees become more resilient and less susceptible to diseases. 

Pruning Tips:

  • Always prune branches with a freshly sharpened, clean tool to ensure clean cuts and reduce damage and exposure to disease.  

  • Use pruning shears, a knife, or a machete for smaller branches. For larger branches, it is best to use a saw to ensure a clean cut.  

  • Never pull, twist, or rip branches off, even if you have already cut through the majority of the branch. This can tear the bark on the remaining branch or stem, leaving a large wound.  
Learn more about the importance of pruning in Chapter 11 of the Technical Manual.  

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