We’re fortunate to live in California’s Central Valley — one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the country — and thus we have the ability to grow a huge variety of fruit- and nut-bearing trees. Stone fruits (apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums), pome fruits (apples, pears, Asian pears), nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), and others (figs, persimmons) all do very well in our climate and soils. Knowing how and when to prune these types of trees is essential to their successful establishment, their long-term health, and their productivity. Careful, purposeful training of fruit trees during their first few years of life after planting is crucial to having a well structured, healthy and high-yielding tree in later years. Generally speaking, fruit trees should be trained to have a few main branches that emerge low on the trunk, for easier access when pruning and fruit-picking, at a 45 degree angle for good strength. These main or “scaffold” branches should form an open, un-crowded framework, to allow for proper sun exposure and air circulation within the tree. Shaded and/or crowded branches eventually will stop bearing fruit. Fruit trees can be trained into several ...