Kids with organic dwarf fruit trees can prune their trees in the winter with guidance and care. Dwarf fruit trees are small enough to do well in container and to only require a step ladder to reach the top. Often these small fruit trees do not need much pruning. For standard organic fruit trees, a pole pruner can extend the gardener’s reach up to 12 feet in the air. Before pruning, kids need to sterilize their pruning shears and saws with boiling water or a solution of 10% chlorine, 90% water. Kids can first prune dead and dying twigs and branches. Next kids can look for damaged and broken branches and remove them. Kids must be sure to prune diseased branches or stem tissues infested by insects. Finally, kids can check for odd branches that cross into the middle of the tree.
Kids should always prune just above a node, the place where a leaf joins a stem and where buds are located, to avoid a stub that can become infected and rot. Kids want to prune above outward facing buds, where the new branch will grow in the direction the bud is pointing. New growth will develop away from the center of the tree, leaving the center open to air and light to keep away disease and pests. Kids should not prune a branch flush with the trunk, but leave the collar or slightly swollen spot where they meet. This collar can quickly grow over and the seal the wound when the branch is pruned. Because dwarf fruit trees are grafted to a different root stock for propagation, kids want to remove shoots growing below the graft union. Kids can open the center of their fruit tree with responsible pruning to allow better air circulation and healthier fruit.