Pruning Fruit and Berry Plants

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pruning Fruit and Berry Plants


the partial or complete removal of branches, shoots, or roots; an important procedure in the care of plants.

The principal purpose of pruning berry plants is the formation of shrubs with well-developed, well-distributed branches of various ages. Aging, unproductive, or sick branches are pruned annually, as are superfluous one-year-old root-branches. In order to improve branching, one-year-old root-branches are shortened. Pruning is used to regulate the development of a plant, as a result of which winterhardiness is noticeably increased or decreased, tree yields are increased, and fruit size and quality are increased. In many plants, pruning helps form a sturdy crown.

The type and degree of pruning required by a plant are determined by the age of the plant, growth conditions, and breed and varietal characteristics. Pruning principally involves both the shortening of branches and shoots (trimming) and thinning out. Other procedures for regulating the growth and fruit productivity are also often used, such as changing the direction of shoots and branches, pinching, notching, and girdling. Trimming greatly changes the shape of the tree crown and strengthens the branches. Thinning out removes or keeps down exuberant crown growth and enables the leaves to get more light.

A tree is usually trimmed and thinned out at the same time; the predominance of one or the other procedure is determined by the condition of the tree and the purpose for pruning. Pinching the shoots, or the removal of the grasslike apices of growing shoots, is used to stimulate the formation of flower buds. By changing the direction of branches and by pinching the shoots, it is possible to forgo winter-spring pruning during the development of young trees.

In the south, fruit trees are pruned in the autumn after leaf fall, in the winter during thaws and mild frosts, and in the spring before the buds begin to open. In the central region of the European USSR, pruning is done in late winter, in late February or early March, when the temperature reaches no lower than — 5°C. Berry bushes are pruned in the autumn after leaf fall.


Gel’fandbein, P. S. Obrezka i formirovanie krony plodovykh derev’ev, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
Anzin, B. N. Obrezka plodovykh i iagodnykh kustarnikov, 4th ed. Moscow, 1968.
Shitt, P. G. Izbrannye sochineniia. Moscow, 1968. Obrezka plodovykh derev’ev. Compiled by P. S. Gel’fandbein. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.