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Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

Posted by thisisme az9b (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 19:42

I started doing some summer pruning today. It’s well over 100 degrees and I kind of got into autopilot and got a little carried away with an apricot tree. It was in a Vase Shape without an opening which makes it hard to pick and care for. So in the middle of pruning it I decided to take out two of the main scaffolds to open it up on one side to about six foot tall. There are other scaffold branches above the ones I took out. I plan on using them to shape the top like a topiary tree above that point. This will allow me to step into the Open Vase to pick and care for this small tree (8'X8'X8') in the shade. The tree’s diameter is a little over 3" and I just cut two scaffold branches that where roughly 1.5" at their point of attachment. This along with it’s normal summer pruning is going to be quite a haircut.


Is this too much for a little tree in the middle of a hot summer or do I have nothing to worry about?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 20:08

I'd be concerned that the exposed limbs might sunburn. At the least I'd paint them white with interior latex diluted 50% with water. You might also consider a shade cloth if that's possible. Something on the order of 50% shade.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

If you'll do a search for "Can we review summer pruning, Jellyman?", you'll find an excellent post by Don Yellman on summer pruning.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

Fruitnut would you paint over the cuts too?

rayrose I did a search using what you have in quotes and could not find it.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

The thread is from August 14,2002. I don't know how long Garden Web keeps threads in their archives, but I'd keep on trying using different approaches. You might try, "Summer Pruning, for instance.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 19:13

Sure paint anything that will get more sun than it's accustom to. It probably won't help the cut surface but can't hurt.

In your climate the heat could easily kill the bark that's newly exposed. So anything you can do to lower the temperature will help.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

Thanks guys.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

I have no experience in your climate, but I believe the issue of sun scald has to do with a combination of a serious reduction in the canopy reducing sap flow through the xylem and more sun exposure increasing the problem with heat- sometimes burning the life out of the most exposed part of the bark.

Dormant pruning may pose more risk of causing this kind of injury than summer pruning if my theory about the cooling affect of transpiration is correct. By summer the leaves are well developed and less canopy is required to keep a good sap flow. Trees pruned heavily in winter can't pull very much sap through developing buds and spur leaves when the first hot days of the year may occur.

Years of experience at renovating old apple trees supports my theory. I never seem to get any scald from summer pruning.


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RE: Any reason you should not do major pruning in the summer?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 15, 13 at 15:49

I've never painted a tree so I can't say for sure if it's really needed after Summer pruning or not. It just isn't something I do. It does seem to be sound general advice that gets repeated everywhere. For me painting tree trunks would be just one more thing to do. And if I can find more things not to do, the happier I will be. Pruning, watering, mulching, and harvesting keeps me busy enough.


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