Fruit Tree Pruning

Pruning Fruit Trees


We are ISA certified, experienced arborists, offering high quality tree services. You can be assured that you and your fruit trees are in the best of hands.

Pruning fruit trees is an art of its own within the tree pruning world. There are multiple methods for pruning fruit trees depending on the overall purpose of the tree, the species and the desired form (shape) it has been trained to. With fruit trees you can also prune the fruit to enhance fruit size and quality. If you would like more detailed information on the different techniques please feel free to contact us

Why do we prune fruit trees?

Fruit trees, such as an apple tree, are mostly grown for the production of fruit, fruit trees that are not pruned become less productive. Therefore, there is a clear distinction in how we manage and care for fruit trees compared to other tree species.  The main reasons why we prune fruit trees are based around maintaining a healthy and productive crop of easily accessible fruit. Pruning fruit trees aims to;

  • Increase sunlight penetration to ripen the shoots and fruit.
  • increase air movement to discourage diseases
  • develop the structure of the tree so it can support the weight of the fruit

With fruit trees there are a whole range of different shapes for aesthetic and ease of access to fruit which do not follow the natural form of a tree. Depending on your particular desired outcome and the needs of the fruit tree we can prune and train the tree to grow in a variety of ways.


Do we prune fruit tree species differently?

Ultimately the answer is yes. The main difference between species is the time of year that the tree is pruned. Trees are also pruned differently depending on their age. Young trees can be pruned and trained into particular shapes. Whereas, old trees that have already been trained or have been neglected are pruned differently either to maintain a shape or to restore a neglected, overgrown tree.

Generally speaking, stoned fruit trees such as cherry trees and plum trees do not require as precise pruning as an apple tree or pear tree. However, they are more susceptible to infection from pruning cuts. Therefore, it is best to avoid winter pruning to limit the risk of silver leaf and bacterial canker. Ideally we prune stone fruit trees in early Spring or in Summer, after fruit production.

Apple Tree Care

Apple trees and pear trees are more hardy to infection and can be pruned in winter or summer depending on your goals. In a nutshell Winter pruning promotes growth whereas Summer pruning retards growth.

We generally aim to prune 10-20% of the tree taking no more than 30%. If a tree is healthy, the harder you prune it the more vigorous the regrowth may be, which ultimately defeats the purpose of pruning as the regrowth is often dense water shoots which can block sunlight, reduce air movement and are generally weak in their structure.

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