Saturday, 9 November 2013


Correct pruning from the start is essential if you want to end up with a well shaped, balanced fruit tree. These tips and techniques can equally be applied to apples, pears, plums, and cherries. They are appropriate to young/maiden trees; if you have bought older trees then it is assumed that most of the formative work has already been done.
Although it might be tempting to plant an older tree that has already been shaped this isn't always a good idea. The advantages of planting younger stock and starting from scratch so to speak is that you can ensure that the tree ends up well shaped and balanced, suited to your own aesthetic requirements and garden environment. Younger trees also establish and grow more quickly than older trees which often receive a 'check' after transplanting and may not have been trained very well by the nursery that supplied it.
Initial pruning should consist of shortening the main leader by a third of it's current length. If the tree has feathers [ie short new branches] remove any damaged, crossing or poorly placed feathers from the upper third. Remove all such growths from the bottom third. Any long growths positioned around the middle of the the trunk should be shortened by up to half. This encourages good branching and the formation of flower/fruiting buds at an early age.
Remove any poorly positioned, crossing, or unwanted branches cleanly at the base. Shorten strongly growing laterals by half or a little more. Remove any low laterals so you get the trunk clearance that you want' this is dependant on positioning and whether you need to mow around the tree etc.
You will now have a nice well branched and well balanced tree with fruiting buds ready to produce the next season.

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