Pruning the Fruit Tree: Living to Tell the Tale

Four in one fruit cocktail tree

Four-in-one fruit cocktail tree

My fruit tree ‘cheat sheet’  told me to get out there and prune by the end of January. The four-in-one fruit cocktail tree is still relatively young, so good pruning is key to the tree’s long-term success. This time last year my son was adamant that I not prune the tree, worried that I would kill it. I read him a long article, published by one of the universities, on the importance of pruning in the first five years of the tree’s life. He would have none of it. Finally he relented, as long as I pruned the tree when he wasn’t looking.

What a difference a year makes. Playing Minecraft with a good friend today took precedence over anything I was doing. I quickly pruned the tree while my husband kept a hand on the ladder. Today was dry and clear, but cold.  I wanted to get the job done and he wanted to get back indoors.

Last spring, I tried to put a net over the tree to protect the fruit from marauding squirrels. I managed to partially cover the tree, but then one of the legs of the ladder sunk into the soft soil, sending me backward into the shrubs.  I skinned my chin, bruised my back side, broke the ladder and damaged my ego. It’s called learning the hard way.

Fresh Cuts, new buds

Fresh cuts, new buds

Generally speaking, I enjoy pruning, but not when I’m ten feet off the ground.  I’m glad the job is done for another year. I started the weekend with a bump on the head after ‘gracefully’ tripping over a warped mat in the garage. No sense adding injury to injury.

Did you do any big chores this weekend?

Good things to come

Good things to come

Fresh lumber for the fairy garden fence

Lumber for the fairy garden fence

21 thoughts on “Pruning the Fruit Tree: Living to Tell the Tale

  1. I was talking to my sister about pruning an avocado tree years ago. It was quite old and the avocados were inedible. I took a chainsaw to it with the landladies permission. I butchered that tree to the best of my ability. It left quite a mess in the back yard. The next year, instead of dying, the darn thing grew some of the best avocados the neighborhood had ever tasted. Couldn’t give them away fast enough. I always had to prune our apricot trees while my last husband was at work. You should have tasted them the next year. It was like eating liquid sunshine. MMMMM


  2. I love to prune but my husband is always nervous that I will overdo it! He used long handled loppers last year to prune the cherry tree so no ladder danger for us. I’m glad you escaped with just bruises, be careful out there!


  3. Oh wow, you are lucky not to have broken bones or worse. I used to do that, climb on ladders when no one was around. I never waited for Jim to be home to tackle a job. That’s what girls like us do…see a job, it needs doing, get it done. But one day, cleaning windows I did a very similar thing. The ladder started tipping in soft gravel and I had to vault off the 2nd to the top step. Luckily, only a sprained wrist from attempting to break the fall and a giant bruise…..needless to say I didn’t do that anymore. The next two years, we hired window people…it felt like an indulgence. I’m glad Mike was there to spot you and steady the ladder, better to be safe. I want to giggle about our propencity to knock, bang, slide and fall into, over and from things…but it’s getting harder to recover these days. xoK


    • Oh,what a scary story. Ladders, it seems, are pretty dangerous apparatus. I’m sorry you sprained your wrist, but like me, it could have been so much worse.

      You’re right, too. We’re go-to women and want to just get it done. But I learned my lesson. Also, as we age, somethings are best paid for with our wallets, and not with our bones. My friend Laura had a horrible fall in her side-yard, with bone protrusions requiring surgery. We’ve been lucky, Boomdee.


  4. O geez, your poor friend. That sounds really painful and scary. Was Laura home alone? Poor girl. My ladder acrobats were more scary than lethal but I’m not willing to take that lesson again. I can’t believe your trees have leaf buds…..tommorrow here…-27 C, add the arctic windchill and they are saying -40 C…….it’s in humane. I will be snuggled up in the craft area.


    • Boy oh boy that’s cold. You poor thing. -40 C. Is that typical for you or unseasonably cold?

      We had a day or two of rain so it warmed up by about 10 to 15 degrees, but it’s cold (by San Jose standards) today and windy. (feel free to roll your eyes and remember that I’ve had too many years to acclimate to these temps. 😉

      Laura was single at the time, but managed to call a neighbor for help. So scary, right? I need to adjust a shelf in the garage and I’m not doing that either till Mike is here.

      What’s up in the craft room today?


      • Oh, you won’t get eye rolls from me Alys. Infact Julia and I were just talking weather at her post. I was saying that another gal I follow is working in the arctic and it’s -40 C for days on end…it will bounce back to 0 or +1 by Friday here. It’s nutty, seasonal is -13 C for daytime January…but the arctic chills hit for 2 – 3 days every couple of weeks…brrrrrr.


  5. Pingback: Catching the Light, Sharing the Love | Gardening Nirvana

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