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Pruning fruit trees during shemitah not for the tree's benefit (1)

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I have two fruit trees hanging over into neighbor's gardens. One is laden with fruit and one is a pomegranate so it will drop all its leaves into their pool. Routinely I would cut them back for the clients' and neighbors' sanity. Not for the tree. Am I allowed to do this during shemitah or because it is a fruit tree you can't?


Rabbi Moshe Bloom

Since, as you wrote, you are not pruning for the purpose of promoting growth, or to otherwise benefit the tree, it is permissible. This is even though it is a fruit tree. However, pruning should be done in a non-professional manner in a way that is not best for the tree. It is optimal to do this with a shinuy (such as at a different height than you would generally prune). Without a shinuy it is also permissible.