Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pruning fruit trees

Hi, I have 2 minature apple trees 1 minature pear tree and a potted blueberry brush, they are all 2 year old, can you please tell me when I have to prune them and by how much, I would be grateful for your advise, many thanks, Susan

Anne's response:

Fruit trees are usually pruned in late January and early February in the Carolinas. Most fruit trees do not need much pruning until they are 3 years old. You remove dead wood, limbs that corss and rub another limb. The formal pruning for good fruit production begins their fourth or fifth year. A blueberry planted in a pot is probably a miniature bush so the only pruning needed is to remove dead growth and thin spindly, weak branches. It will need to be repotted every other year to allow th roots to develop. The North CArolina Cooperative Extension Service has a very good brochure on Home Fruit Orchards that provides pruning diagrams, fertilizer recommendations and spraying to control insects and diseases.

Can I Move Camellias Now?

Thanks for providing Raleigh with such valuable gardening insight. I think I speak for a lot of people in saying the advice is much appreciated! I just purchased a couple of holly bushes in containers to go on either edge of the house. I'll need to move a couple of camelia bushes first. Can I move the camelias now, or should I wait until later in the winter? A single flower just bloomed this morning on one the camelias, by the way.


Anne's response:

Camellias can be moved at this time of year. They do bloom from September to March so moving the plants usually means you lose the blooms for one season. My preferred method of moving them has always been to root prune around the edge of the rootball in the late fall, then remove the plant in December. If the plant is not too large you can dig it now and replant. Water the plant well, mulch the ground around the plant with 3 inches of ground leaves, pine bark or pine straw. If we do not have enough rain to keep the ground moist you will have to water it during the winter to provide moisture for new roots to grow. The mulch layer should keep the ground from freezing in our climate. I also remove some of the bloom buds when I move my plants so the plant uses its energy to grow roots.