Summer prune apples

A trim now will keep your tree neat and encourage more fruit.

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To help keep apple trees to a manageable size, healthy and fruiting they do require some pruning, and this is done in winter or summer.

Winter pruning tends to be formative pruning to create a shape and also to thin out weak and congested growth to keep the trees open. Summer pruning is done to reduce the long new growth made this growing season to maintain the shape of the tree.

It’s mainly done on trained apples trees such as cordons, espaliers and step-overs and by cutting back the new growth it keeps a neat shape and diverts energy into the developing fruits. This type of pruning is also sometimes called spur pruning, because you cut back to just an inch or two to create short growths known as spurs. It’s on the spurs that fruit will develop next year.

Bush and standard apple trees can also be summer pruned to prevent them from growing too tall or wide, and again this consists of cutting back the new growths by half or two thirds, or in some situations where the tree needs restricting, you can spur prune.

Summer pruning is normally done in August as little new growth will be made after this and also to allow time for flower buds to start and develop for next spring.