Annual pruning will keep your fruit trees attractive and productive, so you can enjoy a wonderful garden and bumper harvests. The ideal time to carry out pruning is when the tree is dormant, which is usually between November and March.
It’s important to be using a sharp pair of secateurs, loppers and a pruning saw. Start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches. Make sure you prune branches back flush to their parent, without leaving stubs.
Thinning out your tree will allow it to benefit from light and air, which boosts fruit production and reduces problems with pests and diseases. Just like allowing air into your greenhouse or polytunnel.
Remove any branches growing downwards, towards the centre of the tree or across the path of another branch. Aim to give every branch a good 6 to 12 inches of air space. Just like cleaning up, all cuts should be made flush to the branch.
Cutting back the outermost growth of the tree will make the branches shorter and thicker, and more suitable to carry the weight of fruit. If this part isn’t done, branches can become long and gangly, and prone to snapping.
If your tree is producing and excessive amount of growth each year, it is worth considering pruning in summer. Summer pruning depletes the tree’s resources and will help slow down its growth.
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