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The different types pruning in arboriculture

As in viticulture, pruning in fruit arboriculture is of vital importance to the tree's fruit-bearing potential. Here's a closer look at 5 different types of pruning.

Definition and context

In arboriculture, pruning is essential for good fruit production and tree longevity. There are many different types of pruning, depending on the region, the type of tree and the cultural heritage handed down through the generations.

Pruning has a number of objectives in fruit growing, the main one being to improve exposure to light and therefore encourage fruiting. It's important to optimise the number of shoots, so that they don't get in each other's way, to allow the remaining branches a good flow of sap. In this way, the fruit will be generous and of good quality.

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Pruning techniques adapted to each professional

Although each professional uses their own techniques to prune their trees, here are the most common techniques used in fruit growing:

  • Pruning at planting: the aim of this technique is to encourage roots and branches to branch out. This ensures that the plant can continue to grow. Don't hesitate to prune severely for more vigorous plants.
  • Training pruning: during the 4 years following planting, this pruning helps to structure and shape the tree's framework. The aim of this cut is not to encourage fruit production, but simply to give the tree structure.
  • Fruiting pruning: once the tree has reached maturity, fruiting pruning should be carried out regularly to encourage fruit set. This involves removing dead wood, broken branches, suckers and branches that are too low. For vigorous fruit trees, it is advisable to keep as many small branches as possible by pruning them long enough to distribute the sap throughout the tree. If the tree produces a lot of fruit but of poor quality, indicating excessive fertility, it is advisable to prune short in order to concentrate the sap in just a few parts of the tree.
  • Green pruning: this technique, used in summer, helps to control tree growth by eliminating any "bad shoots" that might limit the development, quality and earliness of the fruit.
  • Fruitthinning: carried out in addition to fruiting pruning, this allows the tree to produce larger, juicier, sweeter fruit by eliminating the smallest berries. Thinning of stone fruit is also carried out at the flowering stage and improves earliness as well as size.
  • Pruning or topping: this is used to limit the height of the tree to make it easier to harvest the fruit by keeping it at an accessible and suitable height. As a preventive measure, it also helps to prepare for the following years by pruning the high branches and crowns of fruit trees, thereby limiting their size.
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All these pruning techniques help to ensure long-term production and facilitate harvesting, while maintaining a good balance between yield and fruit quality. Proper tree care also means taking action to limit wood diseases and extend the tree's lifespan.

INFACO's solutions

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