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February pruning: techniques and purposes of winter pruning

The month of February is a fundamental appointment for pruning both fruit trees and garden plants. Winter is almost over and Spring is about to come. This makes February the perfect month to cut branches safely.

In fact, in this time of the year pruning does not expose the plants to frost and takes advantage of the still ongoing vegetative rest. Furthermore, potentially harmful microorganisms are less active at this time of the year and the risk of disease and parasitic proliferation is minimal.

What are the goals of winter pruning and which plants are to be pruned in February?

The purpose of winter or dry pruning

Pruning is always a source of small or major stress for plants, so it is good to carry it out with precise objectives and cutting the branches with care and competence. The main purpose of winter pruning (also called “dry pruning”) is to stimulate the plant productivity in the spring months. Well-executed cuts can, in fact, favor the production of new vegetation and new buds, as well as direct the resources of the plant towards its most fruitful parts.

Among the purposes of winter pruning there is also the elimination of dry, diseased or damaged branches and the adjustment of the size of the plant. Good cutting operations can also maximize the ventilation and lighting of the foliage and preserve the shape chosen for each plant.

February pruning of fruit trees

As far as fruit trees are concerned, winter pruning involves adult and productive plants and has the purpose of regulating the ratio between vegetative and fruiting production. February is the perfect month to prune the trees of pome fruit (such as apple, pear, nashi or quince) and also stone fruit (such as peach, cherry, apricot, plum or almond). Furthermore, chestnut, pomegranate, kiwifruit and olive trees can also be pruned, if the temperatures are mild enough.

Pruning operations involve a deep cleaning of the foliage from the shoots and branches that are damaged, dry or compromised by pathologies. Furthermore, during the intervention, the branches that compete with the main apex of the plant are eliminated and, for each branch, an apex is identified, while the lateral branches are resized. Finally, the foliage is thinned out to favor the penetration of air and light towards its innermost areas.

February winter pruning tips

Pruning is a delicate operation and it is essential to select with extreme care the branches to cut and the way to perform this intervention. Furthermore, it is always necessary to use well-performing pruning tools to avoid bad results and any dangerous debarking, in order to preserve the plant health.

Professional quality shears and chain pruners can make work more comfortable and less tiring for the operator. Moreover, the use of tools equipped with fixed or telescopic extension poles allows to reach high branches without using any ladders and in total safety. It is also important that the cutting blades are always clean and disinfected before each intervention, so as not to spread infections on the plant.

If Winter is still too cold, it is advisable to postpone February pruning. In this way, it is possible to avoid imperfect cuts due to frost or excessive humidity, since this can favor the presence of pathogenic microorganisms. Where climate is particularly challenging, it is best to wait until the end of February or the beginning of March to perform dry pruning with less risk.

Do you need any practical or professional advice for pruning or for the purchase of your tools? Please, contact us, or go to the Campagnola dealer who is closest to you!

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