Fruit trees are a must have in any garden. Whether you have a small city garden or a large rural space, a fruit tree is a great addition to any space.
1. When should I prune?
Most fruit trees should be pruned when dormant, in the winter, between November and early March. An exception for this are ‘stone fruit’ such as Apricots, Plums, Cherries and Peaches. Stone fruit trees should be pruned in summer, when the sap is rising, to avoid diseases such as ‘silver leaf’; a fungal disease. Silver leaf infects the wood through the wounds, causing a silvering of the leaves followed by the death of the branch.
Pruning in the winter is a good rule of thumb. Although fruit trees can be pruned throughout the year, depending on the type of growth you are trying to achieve.
2. How often should I prune my fruit tree?
3. How should I prune my fruit tree?
Always use a sharp pair of secateurs to ensure pruning cuts are correct, as poor tools can cause branches and to tear, leading to wounds on the tree that may attract pests and disease. Always use the suitable tool for the correct size of cut. If you are struggling to use the tool on the branch, you should probably use a larger one, perhaps a pruning saw.
Shorten the previous years growth on each main branch by approximately a third, leaving a bud facing the required direction to preferred regrowth in the spring.
– Prune the vigorous new shoots.
– Keep the shape of the tree balanced. Don’t allow unsupported lateral branches to get too big as they may snap out under weight.
– Keep the height of the tree low, unless they offer a privacy or a screen. Remember, you won’t be able to reach the apples at the top.
– Prune and remove any branches that rub onto each other and any that are growing toward the centre of the tree.
Frequently asked questions…
Can I prune my fruit trees in summer?
Mid-July to the end of August is a good time to aim for, in order to reduce the possibility of secondary growth.