realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Video: principles of pruning applicable to all free-standing trees

Light is the source of energy for all trees. For this reason, the shape of the mature free-standing tree should be a pyramid.
Secondly, it is important to remember that trees do not crop because of pruning. Trees crop in spite of pruning. This applies in particular to all young fruit trees.
So in the early years of the tree’s development, we should use the secateurs only as a last resort. We can correct shape using spacers, clothes pegs and string.
Once the trees start to crop, aim at achieving the pyramid shape, and start using your secateurs in a moderate fashion. Think LIGHT, not fancy shape.
By year five, the tree has reached its cropping mode.
At this stage, the pyramid shape should be preserved by removing surplus branches with a sharp pruning saw or sharp secateurs.
Gradually start replacing the older cropping branches with younger cropping branches, in order to maintain the quality of the fruit grown.
By now the fruit tree will have reached its mature height. At this stage, pruning becomes very important in order to maintain the pyramid shape.
The principles which now apply are as follows;
1) Remove excessively vigorous branches, back to the main trunk
2) Try to maintain the pyramid shape without shortening back the branches
3) Stand back from your tree and look to see whether light is dominant in the tree structure.

In our next video we will discuss trees planted along walls and/or fencing panels or trained along wire structures such as fan shaped or espalier trees.

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