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Pruning Demonstration from the Raincatcher’s Orchard

April 8, 2022

It was a grey day in March when Raincatcher’s volunteers gathered in the orchard to learn about fruit tree pruning with Jeff Raska.

Fruit trees are pruned to stimulate the growth of new fruit bearing wood and control the direction of the new growth, allowing for maximum harvest, sunlight and airflow.

You may feel like I do and would like to have Jeff standing beside you as you begin. We have provided this video and *some very good notes you can use next year before wielding those shears.

Seasoned Master Gardener Volunteers and Interns in the Orchard, happy with their work having learned the secrets of pruning from our Dallas County Extension Agents

*Fruit Tree Pruning Notes

Ann Lamb, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2005

Pictures and video compiled by Starla Willis Class of 2011

Notes by Katarina Velasco Graham, Dallas County Extension Agent – Horticulture.  

Dates to Remember:

Dallas County Master Gardener Spring Tour-April 30 and May 1st

Raincatcher’s Plant Sale-May 19th

Trimming Vitex

Hopefully, you have taken a moment to watch Evelyn  explain what our Vitex tree needed. Click here for the video if you missed it.

Vitex tree in need of a trim.
Here’s the before picture.

The dormant season is the recommended time for pruning, but sometimes your work force, needs, and timing come together in other seasons.  Evelyn  and Susan, experienced gardeners, took our large, unruly bush and gave it a comely shape.

Here’s the result:

Vitex tree after pruning

Read more about Vitex trees here and in Dallas you can see these trees growing outside the Nasher Museum in downtown Dallas and at the Dallas Arboretum.

Ann Lamb

Picture and video by Starla Willis

Pruning by Susan Swinson and Evelyn Womble





Above:Crepe Myrtle Tree Ensconced in Ice

Above:Crepe Myrtle Tree Ensconced in Ice

Ice hit  North Texas hard this weekend.  Some of the effects were pretty, some were not.

Above: Broken Tree Limbs, Ice Storm Damage

Above: Broken Tree Limbs, Ice Storm Damage

We asked our fellow Master Gardener, Eric,  for advice. Driving around seeing tree limbs down all over the city is distressing. Although we can’t save every tree from ice damage, we can head off some of the damage by heeding Eric’s words:

The main damage trees sustain during ice storms are limbs that break due to the excess weight from the ice that collects on the end of the tree limbs. This is usually due to improper pruning techniques that strip all the foliage away from the limbs except for a “Lions Tail” on the very end of the limb. The ice collects on the end of the branch thus creating a very strong downward vertical cantilever force. The longer the limb, the greater chance for failure.

Having a certified Arborist prune your trees will not guarantee your trees will never suffer broken limbs during an ice storm but you will suffer far fewer broken limbs than your neighbors who hire the drive by “tree toppers”. Proper “pre-storm” tree maintenance is the key to less damage for your trees.

If your trees do suffer ice damage, be sure to contact a professional tree care company to properly access the damage and suggest the best method of treatment.


Pictures by Starla

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