Pruning Small Fruits


 Figs can be trained to either the tree type or bush type. If the tree type is desired, plant about 2 inches deeper than they grew in the nursery. Select well-positioned laterals with wide crotch angles to form a strong framework. In subsequent pruning, head back main branches to keep them smaller than the central leader. Remove inward growth when necessary to keep the tree open. Remove dead, diseased or damaged wood along with suckers and water sprouts.
 If a bush type is desired, plant the tree 4 inches deeper than it grew in the nursery. Head the young tree back to one-half its original height at time of transplanting. The following winter, select about five well-spaced branches for the framework.
Prune shoots growing upward short, but leave those growing outward long to encourage a low branching, flat-topped, open form. Where trees are frequently killed by cold weather, this method is often desirable. When existing branches are killed, select new sprouts the next year and reshape the tree. Certain varieties will recover and produce again within a year or two.


 Blackberries usually require no pruning the first year they are planted. Each year new canes arise from the crown and live for two years. They grow one season, fruit the second and gradually die. Remove old canes, and burn them immediately after the fruiting season.  Top new canes in the summer when they reach a height of about 36 inches. This will encourage lateral branch development on which fruit will be produced the next year.


 Blueberries usually require little pruning the first few years other than removal of low spreading branches growing near the ground. As the plant matures, thin the dense growth in the center of the plant to eight to 10 canes maximum, leaving only the stronger canes. This will facilitate harvesting as well as improve size and quality of fruit. Also, head back canes to keep the plant in bounds and make harvesting easier. Always strive for an erect-growing bush rather than one with low branching shoots.


 Fruit of the grape is borne on shoots developing from buds on canes of the previous season’s growth. Vines must be pruned annually to encourage the development of these canes, to regulate the number of canes remaining and to limit the number of buds on these canes.
 At planting, prune the vine to a single stem and cut this stem back to only two buds. When new growth starts in the spring, select the more vigorous cane, tie it to a stake and remove the other cane. Allow the single cane to grow until it reaches the top wire of the trellis. It will become the primary permanent trunk of the grape vine. If side growth forms near the bottom wire, train one shoot along the wire in each direction and remove all other side growth.
 Prune bunch grapes in late January or February. First, remove all canes that produced fruit the previous season. They won’t produce again, so they are worthless.

Muscadine Grape- Muscadine grapes, unlike bunch grapes, are pruned to a 2-arm cordon system. Muscadine vines must be pruned every year. If a year is missed, it will take several years to return the plant to normal production. For a great many years the idea has prevailed that pruning muscadine grapes from January through March will kill the vine. This is incorrect. Pruning may be done at any time while the vines are dormant.
 Prune muscadine grapes to leave short spurs rather than long canes. These fruit spurs are formed by cutting back the first lateral growth that arisesfrom the main permanent arms (cordon). This lateral growth is normally formed by the end of the second growing season. Cut back these lateral canes to two or three buds. Every year thereafter cut back the growth of the current year to two or three buds. The number of these short spurs determines the productivity of the plant.
 The purpose of pruning is to balance vegetative and fruit growth, increase berry size and cluster size, increase yields and to hold plants within convenient bounds.


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