When to prune fruit trees?

We are often asked when is the best time to prune fruit trees such as apple and pear. The pruning schedule for any tree is dependent on it’s size, it’s situation and the requirements, but here’s some general advice.

Pruning is best carried out when the tree is dormant, between leaf fall and bud burst (usually between November and early March).

If the tree is too vigorous, sending out an excessive amount of growth each year, consider also carrying out some pruning in summer. Summer pruning depletes the tree's resources and will help reduce vigour.

Winter pruning

Mainly for apples, pears and quince. Winter pruning encourages vigorous growth. So if you want new shoots, and more flowers and therefore fruits, prune in winter. Pruning at this time of year, when the leaves have fallen, gives you a chance to see the overall shape and structure of your tree.

Spring and summer pruning

Mainly for stone fruits or if your tree is too big, and you don’t want to encourage vigorous growth. Also good for trained apples and pears.

It doesn’t trigger the tree into producing lots of new growth so it's good for trees you want to keep small and for dwarf trees. It’s also a chance to remove diseased or dead wood.

Because spring and summer pruning is carried out after the tree has started to develop fruits (known as setting fruits), you can avoid cutting the branches with fruits on.

Choose our commercial tree management services to ensure trees located on private land do not pose an unacceptable risk to other people and remain safe and healthy.

Autumn pruning

It’s better to avoid autumn pruning as this can stimulate new growth at a time when the tree is getting ready to go into dormancy.

Contact your local tree surgeons

If in doubt contact Summit Trees for expert advice from a qualified and experienced arborist. We have expect knowledge with fruit trees of all varieties and can arrange a free site visit to view your tree or trees in situ. Call us now on 01993 657352.

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