Prune stone fruit trees

It's the best time to trim for shape and good yield.

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You can shape up your established stone fruit trees now, to see them healthily into the fruiting season. These can be plums, peaches, cherries or apricots of about four years old and over. Younger trees need a systematic programme of formative framework pruning in spring, but older than that and they can just be lightly trimmed now.

It’s best to prune now, as opposed to their dormant season in winter, to help prevent silver leaf disease, a fungus that can infect pruning wounds between September and the following May, killing parts of the tree. You don’t need to do a lot of trimming, just a good bit of maintenance and shaping to neaten up.

You’re aiming for a clear, uncongested framework, clear of excess growth and damaged shoots – if any more needs doing as you inspect the tree carefully, you can carry it out over the next few weeks. Here are some tips on trimming…