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I live in west-central Minnesota on the border of Zones 3b and 4a (but within 3b). I started a couple of dwarf tamarillo trees this year from seed on the last day of February. I transplanted both of them once and have kept them outside in containers since the weather turned warmer in the spring.

I have found many of the things I have read online about tamarillo trees to not be the case with my tamarillo trees. For example, I've read from numerous sources that tamarillo trees are not tolerant of wind, are finicky when it comes to watering, and take at least a year and a half to two years to set fruit.

My trees have made it through several windy summer storms and I have just let the rains water them, and they seem to be doing well for the most part. And now today I noticed fruit is beginning to form, the plants being approximately 6 months old.

Having never grown tamarillo trees before, I have some questions about their proper care. Firstly, both trees have 3 main trunks. Should I let these three main trunks be, or is it best to prune them down to one trunk apiece? Both trees are approximately a meter tall at this point. And, now that they have begun to set fruit, is it even advisable to prune them?

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Tamarillos set fruit on new growth. The California Rare Fruit Growers recommend yearly pruning to remove branches that have already fruited:

Pruning: Newly planted tamarillos should be pruned to a height of 3 to 4 ft. to encourage branching. Yearly pruning thereafter is advisable to eliminate branches that have already fruited and to induce ample new shoots close to the main branches, since fruit is produced on new growth. Pruning also aids in harvesting, and if timed properly can extend the total fruiting period.

Since the tree is so young, you may want to pinch off the fruit the first year or two to encourage it to put energy into the growth of your main scaffolding branches.

As for the trunks, if you want to train the tree to an open center, you may wish to keep the three trunks. If you want a central leader, pruning two of the smaller leaders may be advisable so long as you can prune them without endangering the plant.

As with any tree, if you do any pruning, be sure to follow proper pruning techniques, and understand how the tree will respond to each cut.

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