It’s the perfect time of year to prune your apple tree and our Farm Manager, Chris, has a few top tips to help you.
It’s important to remember that all apple varieties are different so there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to pruning but here are a few basic principles:
- Regularly prune your tree. In the early years this will help the tree form a shape that best captures sunlight and in later years will prevent it becoming too bushy- the more sunlight, the better tasting apples!
- Pruning trees can be quite hands on. On smaller branches use secateurs and if you have one at home, a pruning saw is helpful for larger branches.
- It is best to prune your tree so that it has evenly spread branches and a nice overall shape; two common ways are either an open centre tree (which is shaped like a goblet or wine glass) or a centre leader (which looks similar to a Christmas tree).
- Remove any branches that are broken or crossing over each other. The whole branch should be removed from the trunk (don’t worry the cut will heal over very quickly!).
- Bigger branches produce less apples, as they become too big it is best to remove them leaving room for younger branches to take their place.
- Little and often works best, Chris suggests once a year, every year!
- One last thing, if there are a lot of branches to remove, try and remove them over 2-3 years- otherwise the tree will produce lots of branches (and not many apples!).