Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

To prune or not to prune… freshly-planted young fruit trees

Often, we hear the question: what should we do once the trees have arrived from the nursery and planting of the trees has been completed? We are of course assuming that the trees have been planted at any time during their dormant period, from November to April.
My experience is that it is always better to give the tree time to settle down, to encourage the root system to develop and grow properly in the new soil. To that effect and for that reason alone, it is always better to prune the young trees back to a height where one would like to see new shoots develop, which eventually will be part of the future framework of the tree. At this particular stage it is always best to seal the pruning wounds, immediately after pruning has been completed. Prunings can be left on the ground to provide an indicator to the presence of mice and/or rabbits; if you see signs of gnawing on the prunings, check the rabbit guards on the trunk.
For the same reason, it is important to keep mulch away from the trunk. Mice, which like to work under the protection of mulch, can severely damage the bark of young trees if the mulch around the trees is touching the young fruit tree stems. Keep an area of 6″ around the tree stems free from mulching material of any description.

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