Photo Copyright Rob Helm
Winter pruning is essential to control shape and vigour. Summer pruning helps to encourage fruiting and flowering. Don’t prune Apple trees too early in the autumn – this encourages them to send out new shoots which won’t be strong enough to withstand cold temperatures during the winter.
Once the leaves have fallen, they are fully dormant. You can even prune during frosty weather!
When pruning you are aiming for a goblet shape, with lots of air flow around the centre of the tree. This allows light in for fruit development, and the air flow helps reduce the risk of fungal disease.
First of all, remove any diseased, damaged or dead wood. Secondly, remove and branches that are crossing each other. Where branches rub each other can cause disease to enter the tree. Use clean, sharp tools such as secateurs, pruning saws and loppers.
When pruning large branches, use your pruning saw to create a cut underneath the branch before sawing the top side of the branch, this will make sure that the bark does not rip when the branch drops, due to its weight.
When pruning it’s always good to view your work from different positions, to make sure that you are creating a good shape.
Mulch around the base of your tree with organic matter, ensuring that you leave a gap around the trunk, so that air can flow. Mulch against the trunk can cause rot and disease. We love pruning apple trees, so give us a call if you need a hand!