When you are pruning your trees, it’s important to use the correct techniques.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is the incorrect use of flush cuts. This is where a branch has been pruned below the branch collar where the tree is able to react and seal off the wound. The branch collar is sometimes difficult to identify but often appears as a ring at the base of the branch. This is often done in an attempt to give the tree a nice smooth trunk without any stubs. The problem here is that pruning below the branch collar compromises the tree’s defense mechanism and its ability to callus. The wound will often appear as an oval shape, rather than a nice round even wound that can rapidly compartmentalize and heal naturally.
When you are pruning any branches, remove them above the branch collar and if the limb is heavy, remove some of the weight first. Take extra care not to allow the bark to tear at the site of the final pruning cut. Good quality sharp pruning tools will help with this immensely.
If you are using secateurs and removing smaller branches to shape your tree, then prune to a bud that is facing in the direction you want the new growth. Remove new growth that is not growing in the direction that is desirable. This reduces the energy spent growing a branch that will later need to be removed.
Fruit trees will need extra care to ensure there is plenty of light to allow the fruit to ripen. If the tree produces fruit from last season’s growth, you do not remove the bulk of this and reduce the amount of fruit produced next year.