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Pruning - Flower Buds

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The ability to identify flower buds is important in order to prevent the removal of too many. Flower buds are easily recognized by their shape. They are larger than leaf buds and are swollen near the base. In contrast, leaf buds are smaller and narrow. Apple and pear trees generally bear flower buds at the tips of spurs and short shoots. In contrast, stone fruit bear flower buds laterally along spurs and shoots. It is important not to prune off all these short shoots since they are the site of future flower buds.

apple flower buds

Flower buds are fatter and more rounded in shape than leaf buds. Apple flower buds occur at the tips of short shoots and spurs.

apple leaf buds

Leaf buds are smaller and more narrow in shape than flower buds. On apple, they can be found along the shoots, and occasionally at shoot tips.

cherry flower buds

Cherry flower buds occur on spurs and at the base of short shoots. They are larger than plum, peach and apricot flower buds.

peach flower buds

Peach flower buds occur laterally along shoots rather than at the tip.

plum flower buds

Flower buds on Japanese plum are small and light in color.

plum flower buds

Flower buds on a European plum are dark in color and pointed at the tip.

Vigorous trees tend to have fewer flower buds than weaker trees. Avoid pruning off too many shoots that bear flower buds when pruning vigorous trees. Weak trees may have an overabundance of flower buds, and it may be beneficial to prune off many spurs to help invigorate the tree.

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