Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:10 am Posts: 1152 Location: Melbourne, Australia
Yes, but winter is better. You can put special stuff on the cut branch to keep infection out, but I think that's gone out of fashion now because it doesn't really offer much protection. Make the cut as close to the trunk as possible without cutting into the stem collar. The cut will be on a bit of an angle not straight down.
At least that's what I remember, I've never really done much except hacking off dead bits myself though.
_________________ 'forking. bogan as forking fork' - Joshua 'I can puke and be naked anywhere I want' - Fee
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:32 pm Posts: 354 Location: Portland, OR
Yeah, caterpillar has it right. Wait 'til winter and cut above the collar, following the same angle. In general, you don't want to take too much off at one time. If you're removing one branch that'll be fine. I have to do a lot of pruning on a few of my trees and was told to do it in stages.
Andy - you got incomplete advice or misunderstood about the timing; otherwise your info is good. Isa, prune it now. Late Spring/Early Summer is a fabulous time to remove those small, lower branches if you want to minimize re-sprouting and encourage the wounds to heal over. Do look up pruning diagrams online so you can see where and how to make the cuts; the collar is a raised circular ring at the base of each branch and you want to leave that intact but without leaving a stub beyond.
And Andy, with Portland's mild winters you're usually safe to prune in winter, but waiting to early/mid-Feb. is generally recommended. And if you're cutting back (rather than limbing up) fruit trees, now is a better time, after trees have used up some of their stored energy by leafing out. It helps minimize the horrible "water sprouts" you see coming out by the dozens on mis-pruned older trees.
_________________ Formerly Kaleicious. I still love kale, but no more than lots of other garden greens too! Orach is currently my favorite.