Pruning the Winter after Planting
Always prune most stone fruit trees in late winter. The best time to prune is from just before bloom to 2 weeks after petal fall. Do not prune the trees from January through March, and do not prune before budswell. Stone fruit trees are very susceptible to a disease called cytospora canker. If pruned in the winter, the trees cannot protect the pruning wounds from infection by this disease. The exception is sweet cherries, which are best pruned after they have fruited or in early July.
First, remove any broken or diseased branches. Second, cut out any vigorous upright shoots that might have developed on the inside of the main scaffolds. Ultimately, prune the tree so it becomes vase shaped with no branches in the center (Figure 5.3).