Saturday, February 24, 2018

10 Jan

Time to Prune – Apples and Pears!

Unfortunately, one season of fruit does not mean that another will follow. So, if like many gardeners you had a successful year for apples and pears- prune to ensure you have another!

Pruning is neccessary to keep your fruit tree healthy. It stops branches from becoming straggly and encourages productive growing. The harder you cut back in winter, the more vigorous the tree’s growth will be, creating a strong frame work of branches for years to come. However, if you want to concentrate on weaker growth but more flowers and fruit- prune in summer.

Once your tree has an established, stable frame of branches most of the pruning can be done during the summer. Winter pruning in future will just be for maintanence.

If your tree is mature…

Prune it now harshly if you haven’t done so before. If you have cut it back before, prune now to maintain your tree’s shape and promote healthy growth. Luckily, your tree will be bare this time of year so it’s easy to see what you’re doing. Simply reduce the length of recent shoots and cut back any tangled branches clumped in the middle. This will increase air circulation and limit any unwanted attacks from pests and diseases.

If your tree is young…

Young trees (up to 4 years) should be pruned in the dormant season to encourage vigorous growth. This will create a sturdy frame work of branches. Pruning young trees prevents top growth and conserves energy. Start by getting rid of any weak and overly skinny branches and then prune back the past season’s growth by half. Like older trees, get rid of any clumped branches in the centre.

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