Pruning and Training – Book Review
American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training
I moved often during my first 20+ years of gardening. I focused on vegetable gardening, as I was not able to grow fruit trees or berries. As a result, I did not have much experience in pruning trees and shrubs when I was finally able to buy a home and settle down.
In the beginning, I was scared to prune my plants! I was afraid of damaging the plants or pruning everything wrong. Then my family gave me this book on pruning. It clearly describes what to do and when, and it is absolutely loaded with photos and illustrations. It covers both the basics and a variety of advanced methods.
It is a very practical handbook for pruning and training over 800 types of fruit trees, soft fruits, vines, and ornamental shrubs and trees. One of the things I love best about the book is that it gives me many options for pruning my plants. Do you want or need a tall and narrow form to fit a certain spot? Or do you want a less formal form that is still short enough for you to comfortably reach the top of the fruit tree? Or would you like to grow vines or fruit trees along a narrow strip against a wall or fence line?
This book clearly explains how to treat your plant from the time you first put it into the ground, year-by-year as it develops, and then finally how to maintain the mature plant.
It gave me enough information to finally start seriously pruning my plants. I’m experimenting with several different styles of training – espalier, fan, single cordon, dwarfed bush, and more!
When I started, I followed the instructions very strictly. It seemed to take me forever to prune one small tree! But, over time, I’ve become much more comfortable with the process and I’m now more flexible with how I do it.
Be sure to check out the online video clips produced by Dave Wilson Nursery about How to Prune a Fruit Tree. Their website finally convinced me to relax about the process, and that the best way to learn how to prune is to just DO it!
I have the hard cover version of this book, which is great because I use it so often! But the soft cover version is much more affordable. Either way, I highly recommend this book to everyone.