Reminder to start thinking about winter fruit pruning!

February is (unofficially) pruning month in Iowa. Time to start watching the weather and picking good days to clean up any fruit bearing woody perennials.

Pruning for fruit crops is one of the most important cultural task you can do to ensure a healthy plant and higher quality fruit. With all pruning, the first steps are the 3 D’s: Dead, Diseased, and Damaged wood should be the first to go.

See below for links on how to prune various fruit bearing woody perennials:

Pruning in general:

Yard and Garden: Prune Fruit Trees with Care

This short news article goes over the basics of pruning.

Pruning and Training Fruit Trees

This longer publication goes in depth for all types of tree fruits that can grow in Iowa and is a great resource!

Young apple:

How to Prune and Train Young Apple Trees

This article focuses on young trees that were planted less than 5 years ago

Older, unruly apple:

How to Prune Neglected Apple Trees

This article goes into how to “fix” an apple tree that hasn’t been pruned well in a while. (It happens!)


Pruning Raspberries

A publication not about fruit trees, but about another fruiting plant we grow well in Iowa.

All Trees and Shrubs:

Your Complete Guide to Pruning Trees and Shrubs

A link to all the articles listed above, with even more plants! If you don’t see the plant you need pruned above, it might be found here.


Happy pruning!


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on February 7, 2023. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.