Pruning apples

David described how to prune apples in winter and then we pruned the trees planted last spring

David considers where to prune on a Bramley
David considers where to prune on a Bramley

Winter pruning is to form the shape of the tree. First cut out any clearly dead or diseased wood, to stop disease spreading. Then cut new growth to form an open bowl shape, so that air can circulate. Select an outward-facing bud, and cut immediately above it – if you leave too much it will die.

Bruce cuts out a central stem
Bruce cuts out a central stem

If you can make your cut with secateurs there should be no need for wound paint: only use it if you have to use a pruning saw or loppers. Distinguish the larger, bumpy buds, which are fruiting buds and will produce flowers in due course, from the smaller vegetative buds.

Louise prunes to an outward bud under David's directions
Louise prunes to an outward bud under David’s directions

We also have a quince. David told us he used to prune his quince tree like an apple, and got very little fruit. On a trip to Germany, he saw heavily laden quinces, and learnt that they never pruned them. Last year he left his alone and got a bumper crop.

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