GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — This time of year, you may notice water sprouts on some of your trees, especially fruit trees. Now is a good time to prune those off!
Dan Gjerston, an arborist at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has some advice for on how and why to do so.
Dan explains, “They’re fast upright growing shoots that come from dormant buds. They could be a reaction to stress but if a plant is growing vigorously, it can just be a characteristic of that plant.”
You’ll spot them easily because they grow straight up.
The reason we should remove them is to promote air movement and light penetration into the canopy. And the tree looks much more aesthetically pleasing.
Dan recommends cutting as close to the parent limb as possible without causing damage. And you should do so annually.
Dan warned that where the water sprouts attach to the parent limb is a weak attachment point. If the water sprout grows really tall (and it will) they are prone to breaking off at that attachment point, which causes a wound and invites disease into the tree.
Every year prune the water sprouts before they get too big and out of hand! A ladder may be necessary for ones near the top or hire an arborist to help you out.