The two main pillars of routine fruit tree maintenance are pruning and training, pruning being the cutting of extraneous and unhealthy limbs and shoots while training is concerned with shaping the growth of the tree for optimal health. The process is best undertaken on a predictable calendar with emergency work in cases of severe weather or disease.
Orchard keepers must select which type of training they wish to put a given tree through. Different fruit trees necessitate different programs, including central leaders, vase cuts and the Y system which depends on forking branches from the central trunk. These different methods allow various trees to flourish.
Routine pruning should help prevent trees from becoming overgrown and leaving parts of themselves starved of light. Major limbs should not overlap but should climb like scaffolded steps at intervals around the trunk, fanning out so that they receive equal sunlight. This lets branches grow in harmony with one another and produce fruitfully in their own rights.
Heading cuts, a more aggressive form of pruning, encourages growth by trimming a lateral branch or bud down nearly to its quick at a 45-degree angle. This causes a surge of vertical growth and can help keep plants growing vigorously and aggressively in time.