Fruit Tree Care: Using Tree Limb Spreaders

When it comes to the structural form of your fruit trees, they may need a gentle push in the right direction. Get the job done with tree limb spreaders.

Everyone wants what's best for their fruit trees, but sometimes the trees get a little unruly when left to their own devices. That's when tree limb spreaders come in handy.

Using limb spreaders will help train your fruit tree's young limbs to grow out from the trunk at a sturdy angle rather than grow up at a weak angle. Training these limbs to grow outward will help to discourage narrow crotch angles, which can be a danger in the future by means of breaks, splits and so on.

When To Use Limb Spreaders:

Limb spreaders are most effective when they are used on young, flexible branches. You may begin using limb spreaders on existing young branches as soon as your trees break dormancy in the spring. You may also use as needed on new growth all throughout the summer.

Limb Spreaders Used in an Apple Tree
Limb Spreaders Applied to Apple Tree Branches

How To Use Limb Spreaders:

  1. Gently secure one end of the limb spreader against the bud/leaf area of a young, flexible limb
  2. Carefully slide the other end of the limb spreader down into a resting position against the main trunk
  3. Limb spreaders should be in place at about 45 degrees between the limb and the main trunk
  4. Adjust as needed to ensure applied limb spreaders are secure

Check periodically to see that the limb spreaders have not been knocked loose by wind or animals. Loosened limb spreaders may be reapplied following the above steps. Branches should be properly trained, and limb spreaders may be removed, after two or three years. Limb spreaders may be reused as needed on new and developing branches.

Limb Spreaders: Benefits to Your Trees

Not only do limb spreaders avoid future breaks by improving the structural form of your fruit trees, they also open up your trees' branches so that they get more exposure to light. More light means more fruit production – and more quality fruit!

Pruned Dormant Tree with Limb Spreaders
Limb Spreaders Used for Improving Structure of Trees

Do you use limb spreaders, or any other means, to improve form when you train your fruit trees?