Wildlife habitat, Permaculture, Orchard, Edible Lanscape and Garden Design. Cambridge.

Basic Guidelines for Maintenance and Renewal Pruning (Spur Bearing Apple and Pear Trees).

IMPORTANT : Prune apples and pears (pips) after leaf fall and before bud burst (Nov-Mar). Remove new water-shoots in Summer. Prune plums, cherries etc. (stones) after bud burst and before damp Autumn conditions arise (May-August).

  •  Maintenance.
  • Look around the tree, taking note of its general structure and the space between the branches.
  • Remove dead, diseased and damaged wood (DDD).
  • Remove congesting shoots which grow inwards, crossing shoots which will rub and crowding shoots which are too close together, branches should be roughly 45cm apart (CCC).
  • Look at each framework branch in turn.
  • Remove vigorous upright watershoots, but leave some if there are a lot.
  • Tip leaders by half or less depending on vigour and balance (the more vigour the less is cut).
  • On strong laterals on outer part of tree renewal prune.

Renewal (1-2-3-4).

  • Maiden laterals allowed to develop un-pruned.
  • 2 year old laterals cut back to top flower bud.
  • Three year old laterals will be fruitful and should be left.
  • 4 year old laterals can be:

a) Removed completely in favour of dormant buds on the framework branches.

b) Cut back to 2-3 buds to give new vegetative growth from same place.

c) Left alone to fruit (if there is room).

 This gives a rotation of four stages:-

1. Maidens un-pruned

2. 2 year old laterals

3. 3 year old laterals giving fruit for the first time

4. 4 year old laterals giving fruit on spurs or 4 year old laterals pruned,

(a) to 2-3 buds to start a new maiden lateral, or

(b) removed completely to allow space for a new maiden lateral.

 The choice made will depend on space available and where new shoots are growing.



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