Pruning fruit trees

Muddy lanes, wellies and lovely autumn sunshine at Pylle this morning – perfect for a pruning workshop.  We had a hands on session in Angela’s garden and then in Wendy’s garden, pruning both young and older apple trees.

Prune in this order:
First – remove the 3 D’s (dead, diseased and damaged wood) (i.e. the wood that must be removed for the health of the tree)
Second – remove crossing branches as these will become damaged and diseased with time
Third- prune young trees to encourage a good, strong shape AND prune to encourage fruiting, this means prune to encourage spurs on spur bearing trees, do this by removing all new vertical growth to 3 bud (about 1 cm).   The best way to learn and to build up your confidence is to attend a hands on workshop rather than read about it!   I am sure we will do some more pruning next winter!

Tips
1. D0 not remove more than 25% of the tree at any one time

2. Prune little and often, the tree will respond to your annual pruning and you can respond again next winter

3. You shouldn’t need to prune for size as you should be growing a tree on the correct rootstock for your site

When
Prune between  November and February although some growers prefer to leave their pruning until February as they feel the wounds heal over faster.  If  you have a very vigorous tree (e.g. some cookers) or espaliers and cordons, you can do some summer pruning (July) which helps to reduce their vigour a bit.