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SUMMER PRUNING OF APPLES AND PEARS

Posted by Rosemoor Garden on 19 Aug 2009 at 04:07 PM

We have started summer pruning of our apples and pears which have been trained as cordons, fans and espaliers. These are called restricted forms as opposed to the normal orchard trees grown as a bush or half-standard, which are normally pruned in the winter.

This type of pruning keeps the plants “restricted” to a smaller space and encourages fruiting. Also if the timing is right it will encourage the tree to convert some of the leaf buds at the base of the shoot to fruiting buds.

In Britain and the cooler parts of Northern Europe we use a modified Lorette system of pruning to discourage secondary growth, which may be vulnerable to frost damage during the winter.

Pruning does not start until the basal third of a new shoot has turned woody, and growth is slowing down. Timing will depend largely on the weather and which part of the country you are in. Prune too early and the basal buds will break and produce soft growth for the winter. Prune too late and the basal bud will not turn into a fruit bud before the winter sets in.

Once the permanent framework is established pruning cuts are made to one bud from the main stem, if it is the first time the shoot is pruned then cut to 3 buds to help form the spur system.

Pruning is best spread over a 2-3 week period and to further discourage secondary growth, a few vigorous shoots may be left unpruned to act as ‘sap drawers’. Shorten sap-drawers in the spring.

It is recommended that shoots shorter than 9 in should be left unpruned as these often have a flower bud at the top. I find over time that these short shoots tend to produce vegetative side shoots that gradually force the tree further away from their supports, so I prune some of these out.


 

Comments

Faraway said:

Not just news, but useful information too, thank you.

on 06 Sep 2009 at 09:31 AM

Faraway said:

Not just news, but useful information too, thank you

on 06 Sep 2009 at 09:33 AM

Faraway said:

oops, sorry for the duplication!

on 06 Sep 2009 at 09:48 AM