Apple pruning

The annual task of pruning our apple tress in the wild flower meadow has come around again, and it was a case of girl power for the job - three of us all atop the step ladders snipping away.

All our apples were planted in the same year, and they all old varieties with some lovely names like 'Peasgood Nonsuch' and 'Irish Peach'. They were bought from Bernwode nursery near Aylesbury about 1998 (I shall have to check the diary).

Follow some easy rules and it becomes quite simple to prune established apples
  1. Remove any dead or damaged branches
  2. Remove any crossing branches
  3. Remove any spindly laterials
  4. Reduce last years growth (identified by the shiny new wood instead of older grey wood) by at least half, preferably two thirds. Cut to an outward facing bud.

Most of our trees are spur bearing, (the apples grow on 'spurs' along the branches), but some are tip bearing. We treat them pretty much the same, but they are pruned less hard.

The fruit buds (pictured) are quite clear this time of year, they are much fatter than the leaf buds. You can see the spurs quite clearly too, definitely do not remove these or you won't have any apples this summer!

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