Pruning apple and pear trees made easy

by Natasha Starkell | 25.04.2014 | 5 steps | easy | 15 - 30 Min. | 2 times | Rating: 1 votes

The hardest part in pruning apple or pear trees is to establishing whether they are spur- or a tip-bearing. Once that is done, you should just get yourself a sharp pair of loppers and follow our instructions.

There’s nothing quite like a crisp freshly picked apple, right? Plus, there’s not a huge amount of effort involved either. Far from having to go into your garden on a daily basis to tend your veggies, fruit trees practically take care of themselves. They make an ideal tree for any garden, providing beautiful colour, shade and fruit throughout the year. But, if you want to keep picking great tasting fruit every autumn, then you’ll need to do a little pruning in the winter months. 

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When to prune apple and pear trees?

When to prune apple and pear trees?

When to prune apple and pear trees?

Step 1

When to prune apple and pear trees?

Prune apple and pear trees after the leaves have fallen. If Christmas has come and gone, don’t worry, it’s not too late, just be sure to have all your trimming done before the first spring buds appear.

Remove diseased, dead or small branches

Remove diseased, dead or small branches

Remove diseased, dead or small branches

Step 2

Remove diseased, dead or small branches

Use sharp tools to ensure clean cuts, and remove any diseased, dead and small branches, or those which may be crossing each other and rubbing together.

Trace your finger back to healthy bark, before using a pruning saw and secateurs to remove the branch, taking care not to cut into the collar (the small bulge next to the trunk).

Remove healthy inward-growing branches

Remove healthy inward-growing branches

Remove healthy inward-growing branches

Step 3

Remove healthy inward-growing branches

Fruit needs lots of light to develop, so try to keep the centre of the tree open by removing large branches that are inward facing. Branches that have become too long or high can also be cut, and you should prune them back to a well-established and healthy branch.

The next bit gets a little complicated, so take a breath and prepare yourself…

The majority of apples and pears fruit in two ways; either on the branch tips or on individual spurs growing from the main branch. For the best harvests, prune you tree in accordance with whether it’s tip-bearing or spur-bearing. 

Pruning tip-bearing trees

Pruning tip-bearing trees

Pruning tip-bearing trees

Step 4

Pruning tip-bearing trees

Good news: there aren’t many tip-bearing fruit trees these days. Some partial tip-bearers include Bramley’s Seedling, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Blenheim Orange, Lord Lambourne.

On each branch identify previous year's growth. Prune back the previous year’s growth and young side shoots (shoots that grow from the tree's stem) to the first strong bud. 

Pruning spur-bearing trees

Pruning spur-bearing trees

Pruning spur-bearing trees

Step 5

Pruning spur-bearing trees

Prune back the previous year’s growth by one third, cutting back to a healthy, outward facing bud. Do the same for side shoots (shoots growing from the side of a tree’s stem), cutting back to the fifth or sixth bud. 

Items:
Berger Gartenschere Nr. 1104
46.90 €
Black&Decker Astschere 38 cm
21.95 €
Berger Gärtnersäge mit Zughaken
32.75 €
Tools
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