Breadfruit is a remarkable tree that has served as an important food crop in tropical climates for many generations. In the garden, this handsome specimen provides shade and beauty with very little attention. However, like all fruit trees, breadfruit benefits from an annual pruning. The good news is that pruning a breadfruit isn’t all that difficult. Read on for tips on cutting back a breadfruit tree.
About Breadfruit Pruning
Trimming breadfruit trees annually encourages new growth and maintains the desired size and shape. Pruning a breadfruit tree should be done every year, beginning after the trees are two or three years old. The ideal time for pruning a breadfruit is after completion of harvest, but before vigorous new growth begins.
Cutting back a breadfruit is easiest when the tree is no more than 20 to 25 feet (6-7 m.), and many gardeners prefer to limit the size to 15 to 18 feet (4-6 m.). Use a pruning saw, telescoping pruner or extendable pole pruner to keep the tree at a harvestable height.
If the tree is large, consider hiring a professional arborist, as pruning a large tree is difficult and accidents are more likely to occur. If this isn’t possible, take the time to learn safe pruning techniques before you begin.
Be safe when pruning a breadfruit tree. Wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, gloves and a hard hat, as well as eye and ear protection.
Remove vigorous branches from the sides and tops of trees. Avoid simply “topping” the tree. Prune as needed to create an even, rounded canopy.
Keep in mind that pruning is stressful for trees and open wounds need time to heal. Give the tree extra care in the form of moisture and fertilizer to get them through the healing period.
Fertilize breadfruit after each pruning, using a balanced organic or commercial fertilizer with an NPK ratio such as 10-10-10. A time-release fertilizer is useful and prevents leaching in areas with heavy rainfall.
Apply a layer of fresh mulch and/or compost immediately after pruning.