If you like the way Paul prunes his trees that you see in Back to Eden, you can watch his pruning video here. I watched it and I have not been intimidated by pruning fruit trees since. He makes it so easy and logical. In one season my plum tree has begun to take on the wonderful Halloween quality that his fruit trees have. I used my little saw to initially prune my plum. The saw shredded the bark a bit when I made the cut flush like Paul does. I just treated myself to a Samurai Icheban Saw (see below). I cannot wait to try it out!
Paul says: Cut to the line!!
Paul's beautiful tree. Note: nice, smooth and flush...no little ugly stumps.
Paul says: Cut to the line
While there are many different teachings about how to prune trees, there has always been one constant. DON'T CUT THE COLLAR!!! This is the line on a tree marking where a new branch has started. When you cut beyond the collar you leave a stump.
Here are a few pictures showing what this means.
This stump will grow suckers and make the tree look ugly.
Eventually it will rot and create a cavity. Paul says that the line is there for a reason. Paul has always cut right on that line and you can see in the video that his trees healed very well and you are not left with these branch nubs all over.
Use quality tools:
Paul does not recommend using pruning loppers because you cannot get close enough to the line and they crush the wood instead of cut. For pruning you want nice clean cuts. There are two items Paul highly recommends you get. He says that these two tools below will be all you should ever need to prune your trees.
Felco F-8 Classic Pruner with Comfortable Ergonomic Design
The Felco ergonomic hand pruner sports a strong anvil blade and is an ideal choice for light day-to-day pruning. Users will benefit from the pruner’s lightweight construction and handle design that resists slipping. Easy to use, the pruner tackles tasks such as cutting back an overgrown hydrangea or removing a sickly pansy patch with minimal stress on user hands and wrists. The pruner’s anvil blades are crafted with hardened Swiss carbon steel blades that offer frictionless slicing and resist rust. With a fine blade adjustment and a wire cutting notch, the blades easily cut through branches, stems, and wires up to 1-inch in diameter. The light metal handles are forged for durability and pivot on tough, replaceable pins rather standard rivets. A cushioned stop keeps the blades from opening unexpectedly or overly wide. The pruner measures 8-1/2 inches long and weighs only 8.7-ounces, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Felco F-9 is the left handed version of this amazing pruner.
Samurai Ichiban 330 mm or 13" Pruning Saw Scabbard.
The Samurai Ichiban 13″ pruning saw is the latest design in handsaws. Saw is incredibly smooth and allows you precise cutting. Samurai saw blades are taper ground and thinner so they cut faster and easier. The impulse hardened, permanently filed teeth are incredibly durable. The legendary sharpness of Samurai saws is achieved by using a whetstone and then chrome plating to reduce friction during use. Features an ergonomic handle that’s covered with a rubber cushion for a comfortable, non-slip and positive grip. Includes a hard plastic scabbard that has a detachable 1″ wide woven nylon belt loop. Replacement Blade is available – #GC 331LH Tooth Profile: The two common blade profiles are “tapered” and “non tapered.” The tapered blade is thicker at the bottom where the teeth are and thinner at the top following edge. On a tapered blade the teeth do not have “set” (pushed left and right) therefore the blade following the teeth must be thinner to prevent drag in the saw kerf. A non-tapered blade has the same thickness from the top to the bottom. The teeth on a non-tapered blade have “set” to create a wider kerf at the teeth so the remaining blade can follow through the cut without drag. Typically a “non tapered” blade is more rigid than the tapered blade. Tooth Style: The three sided or tri-edge tooth has edges on both sides and across the top of the tooth. This style tooth cuts much faster then the conventional two sided tooth. The advantage of the conventional two sided tooth is it is easier to sharpen. Teeth/inch Teeth per inches refers to the number of saw teeth in one running inch of saw blade. The smaller the number of teeth per inch the “coarser” the blades is. A blade with a higher number of teeth per inch is described as a fine tooth blade.
I could not find Samurai Saws in Canada. I ordered mine from here.
Really good article. Thanks for taking the time to explain things in such great detail in a way that is easy to understand.
You're so welcome Kim. It started with my making extensive notes. I then realized that I could use the blog to keep everything in a form that would be easy to find what you needed at your fingertips. So there you go.
Thank you so much Erin for the awesome article. It made my day. With due permission, can I use the first image in your blog for my YouTube page? where I will be explaining on fruit trees pruning. I will quote your blog and the website and give due credit. Plz let me know if I can do so.
The photo isn’t actually mine, but I’ve used it since 2014 with no problem. I had no way to give credit as it seemed to be just a photo and not part of a site.
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