When to prune
When to prune is dependent on the fruit type, most pruning is completed during the fruit tree’s dormant months.
When to prune is dependent on the fruit type, most pruning is completed during the fruit tree’s dormant months. The following offers a quick reference, month by month guide on when to prune:
January : Apples, pears and kiwi
February : Apples, pears, kiwi, apricot, plum trees and vines
March : Peaches, grapes and citrus
April : Prune any damage caused over the winter months
May : Only prune peripheral branches to support the framework
June : A key moth for pruning, it is essential to prune the majority of fruit trees at this time
July – September : Pruning "after harvest" to eliminate dried-out branches and dead spots
October : Pruning is not advised for most varieties
November - December : Apple, pear, apricot and plum trees
How to recognise fruit buds on a fruit tree
Fruit trees produce two types of bud:
- Fruit buds which initially flower and then form fruit
- Wood buds that carry leaves, but no flowers
Some tree branches feature a mix of the two. These are the most productive branches.
By identifying the buds, you can ensure that you leave enough fruit buds on a tree to ensure an excellent crop.
Where a fruit bud is produced on a tree will have an impact and this defines trees into two categories:
How do I know if I have a tip-bearing or spur-bearing tree?
Spur bearing trees develop when short sharp shoots grow on older wood that is 1-2cm in length and only feature a wood bud in the first year. By year two, it has grown a couple of inches and growth continues into year three, by which time it develops a bud and flower, known as a spur. Pome trees feature spurs and can produce fruit for up to a decade. Spur bearing trees are unlimited in the amount of spurs they can produce.
Tip-bearing tress produce buds on longer and relatively new twigs that are up to 30cm in length. Fruit grows on the tips but the amount is dependent on the new shoots from the previous year.