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Spraying pesticides and pruning for shape maintenance during shemitah

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  1. Is it permissible to spray trees with pesticides in areas where pests are generally attracted to?
  2. Today olive trees are often shaped into balls in home gardens. Following the opinion that pruning fruit trees is a Torah prohibition, is it permissible to prune them during shemitah in order to preserve their shape?


Rabbi Avraham Socholovsky, Torah VeHa'aretz Institute
  1. It is permissible to spray trees to prevent damage to the trees.
  2. It is permissible to prune when it is obvious that it is not for the purpose of encouraging growth. If trees were shaped in a certain way before the shemitah year and you are pruning in order to preserve that shape, and not to encourage growth (such as filling in bald spots), it is permissible.