Our home in California sits on about 1/6th of an acre (0.0674 hectares, if I did the conversion correctly). Blessed with a wonderful climate, we have three apricot trees, two peach trees, three plum trees, five citrus trees, blackberries, raspberries, and at least 15 rose bushes. Out of necessity, I have learned a lot about pruning.
So why do I prune? Sometimes I prune to remove spindly, wild growth that might break off in the next strong wind. In some cases I prune to get rid of dead or diseased growth (see the photo above). This protects the health and future productivity of the fruit tree or berry vine. In other cases, maybe two branches are growing in directions that cross each other. If left unpruned, they will damage each other and reduce any crop the tree might otherwise bear. Some trees tend to grow branches straight up rather than spreading out, and the congested center of the tree attracts disease and limits its ability to bear fruit. For those trees, I prune each branch back to a bud facing out from the center of the tree. Those buds produce new growth in directions that enlarge the tree. I could go on, but you get the idea: pruning improves the plant’s strength, aids its health, avoids future problems, and helps it bear fruit. Pruning serves beneficial purposes.
Each kind of fruit tree and berry vine benefits from its own pruning if done in the right way and at the right time. Likewise, we benefit from an occasional pruning by God, who really knows His technique and timing. In John 15:1-5 Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
2 thoughts on “Pruning”
Did you ever wonder how the plants feel about pruning? Do they see only the loss or do they approve because of the gain in fruitfulness?
Well, they are not sentient beings like humans, so I don’t know that they feel anything. On the other hand, I am not always happy about it if God prunes my actions or brings me up short. Or at least not at the time. Hindsight often brings it into perspective, though…