How to Prune Overgrown Fruit Trees in 7 Easy Step

Do your overgrown fruit trees need pruning? Your tree can be pruned in a few easy steps, depending on its type. Melissa Strauss, a horticultural expert, explains how to trim an overgrown fruit tree in your yard or garden.  

Step 1: Start with the Right Tools

Make sure you have the appropriate tools before starting. Fruit trees can grow enormous, therefore we'll need a pruning saw to prune an overgrown one. This will aid in removing larger branches. 

Step 2: Make a Plan

Before cutting, examine the tree from all aspects and decide which branches must be removed for its health. Determine which branches are affecting the tree's shape and health. Note crossed branches and packed branches.  

Step 3: Remove Dead and Diseased Wood

First, clip dead and broken limbs from the tree. Trimming damaged branches helps the plant focus on fruit production rather than repair. You should never remove more than 25% of a tree's branches in one year. 

Step 4: Remove Suckers and Water Sprouts 

All these small branches are unlikely to fruit. They hinder pruning and complicate it. Remove these to see the tree better. The tree's growth habits and how to balance the major branches will be clearer. 

Step 5: Remove Downward Facing and Crossing Branches 

Look inside the tree for spots where branches develop toward the center or cross over other branches. Fruit will drop early due to branch rubbing. They also block sunlight and airflow through the tree's heart.  

Step 6: Identify the Leader

Main branch or trunk is leader. All secondary branches come from this branch. How you handle this branch depends on how tall and shaped your tree is. Fruit trees want balanced layers. A leader will develop secondary branches and a third tier.  

Step 7: Choose Supporting Branche

Choose your second-tier supporting branches. Because a branch of mature fruit might be hefty, the tree's main supports should be the strongest. A tree with too many second-tier branches will be congested inside.  

Floral Separator

Also see

10 Perfect Companion Plants to Grow With Watermelons