How to Winter-Prune Apple and Pear Trees

Winter can be a good time to prune established bushes, half standard and full standard apple and pear trees. However it is advisable that you avoid pruning in wet conditions or during a heavy sharp frost. It is a good goal to have all pruning finished before the end of February.

No matter what the tree type is, annual pruning will improve yields and will help to control the size. Always prune to an outward facing bud, and remove any damaged wood and crossing branches.

Newly planted trees can be pruned straight after planting to encourage a balanced crown. Shorten strong side branches by around a third. Remove lower branches, aiming for about 75cm of clear trunk for a bush and 135cm for a half standard.

For trained forms its best to thin out overcrowded fruiting spurs.

Pruning Established Spur-Bearing Trees

Prune side shoots between 4-6 buds. Pear trees tend to have more upright growth whereas spur bearers produce the majority flower buds towards the base of older wood, particularly on short side branches.

Pruning Established Tip-Bearers

On established tip bearing trees, remove a few of the older branches. Cut back to where a younger, outward-facing branch emerges, or to the trunk or main framework branch. Prune leading branches only slightly, removing fewer than four buds, as fruiting buds are carried at the tips.

Pruning trees is important and should be done at the right time of the year so as to benefit the tree. If you would like more information or would like Blue Iris Landscapes to help with the pruning of apple and pear trees, please give us a call or email us on: –

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