The pruning for the year being done a couple of months ago is now giving way to new growth. The thought of hurting the plant and injuring it to the point of death always haunts me when I take up the shears. But experience and lots of advice from superior gardeners has shown we are doing the plants a favor. It seems that a close, careful pruning rewards one with an exciting burst of new growth. The Gala Apple tree in the upper left is showing promising signs of growth that encourages me to believe I pruned it correctly this year. Time will tell, as we labor to shape the trees into forms that will allow the most sunlight to the middle and air flow around the branches. This aids in a reduction of disease and insects that might take advantage of dense foliage, and limbs that would cross or rub one another.
Each type of tree needs a different approach in pruning, as some will be cup shaped, others will spread with the tops truncated and still others will thrive with a round, umbrella shape. Martha Stewart has a stand of apple trees that have 4 main limbs on each tree, that have been forced to grow along wire leaders situated between posts, looking a lot like a vineyard. While it is ascetically pleasing to gaze upon, it does nothing for increased fruit production, but if one has the room, it seems pruning approaches are limited only by ones imagination.
The clump of blooms on the pear tree below will have to be pinched back, or have the small early fruit picked off due to the density of the flowering. This is common at a fresh cut early in the season, prompting quick, thick growth that the tree can't easily sustain.
What ever the tree or bush you are working with, remember that pruning is helping, not hurting. Remember the words of Jesus, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)"