Horticulturalist provides tips to prune fruit trees

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(KMVT/KSVT) - With spring-like temperatures lately, now is a good time to prune your trees before they begin growing leaves. Bloom Horticultural's Tony McCammon offers a few tips when doing so.

It all starts with proper tools:

- Good bypass pruners: "These will work good to about a quarter of an inch to half an inch," McCammon said.

- Loppers: "These are really good for grapes and raspberries. You can get in and around things. This also helps with a little bit more leverage. Once again you're talking about a half an inch (on a branch), maybe three quarters of a inch (in diameter)," he said.

- Saw (not a chainsaw): "When things get a little bit too big or you have to do some good thinning cuts, you want a good saw," he added.

McCammon demonstrated a few cuts you may want to make.

- Thinning cut: "I have a branch that's shooting up into the branches above it. This is called a thinning cut where you just (cut) that branch back down to the main stem," he showed.

- Heading cut: "Heading cuts is telling the tree where you want it to grow so you take a branch and you look for a bud that's underneath (or pointing down)," he said.

When you're trimming a bigger branch, he suggests a three cut process.

"So you prune (at the bottom first), you prune on top, and then as you cut, it will break where you pruned underneath. That'll keep it from ripping the bark off the tree," he continued.

He said pruning is about instigating good bud growth and flowers to produce a fruitful crop.

If you want to learn more about pruning, McCammon offers a workshop in Gooding on Feb. 17.

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