Pruning tree garden

Understanding pruning


Pruning is the practice of shaping a fruit tree and plants to determine how they grow, their longevity and strength, and their ability to flourish and bear fruit.

Pruning is the practice of shaping a fruit tree and plants to determine how they grow, their longevity and strength, and their ability to flourish and bear fruit.  In simple terms, the tree’s branches are cut at specific times and require specialist knowledge of its individual characteristics for greatest success.

Each type of tree requires pruning and fruiting that is specific to that species.  Generally, you eliminate or shorten branches that are surplus, in addition to cutting suckers which are new shoots growing from the rootstock.  

By their nature, larger branches are more difficult to prune, as you are cutting, not just to shape the tree but also cutting based on the strategic importance of that branch. 

A few weeks after flowering, if fruit is in abundance, it is important to remove some of the weakest fruits, especially those that are smaller or malformed.  Following this fruiting, you can expect a natural fruit drop and even at this point, it may be important to thin the fruit stock even further so that all that remains is for e.g., in the case of an apple tree, fruit every 8-10cm. 

Pruning a fruit tree in this way allows you to maximise the yield of high quality fruit.  In the garden, the success of a fruit tree is based on the balance of having a tree that aesthetically pleasing but one that will also bear high quality fruit.   

Pruning takes place during the dormant months which is specific to individual fruit tree species.