Pruning Apple & Pear Trees

appleFruit trees need regular pruning to maintain their shape and to encourage successful fruiting the following year.

Some people are unnecessarily concerned about pruning their fruit trees, believing it to be a rather complicated black art – this feature is designed to dispel this myth by showing you how easy it is to prune apple and pear trees properly.

Before we start – some useful facts about the fruit trees supplied by Bypass Nurseries…

Our potted fruit trees are grafted stock – meaning that the selected fruit variety (the tree you see above ground providing the variety of apple, pear etc that you require) is grafted onto root stock (the important bit below ground) designed to control the growth of the tree – meaning that you can select the exact fruit variety that you want on a tree that will grow to the space where you wish to plant it.


Take a good look at your tree – identifying the following elements will help to make your pruning easy and successful!

You’ll see that it has a main trunk and many branches.

At the top of your tree the main trunk thins to leafy new growth – this is call the ‘main leader’.

The branches, or ‘branch leaders’, grow from the main leader and those near the top of your tree may compete with the main leader for height.





Take a closer look at one of your branch leaders – you’ll see a change in the look and texture of the branch which marks the transistion from last and previous year’s growth which is woodier in appearance, to this year’s new growth which is smooth and waxy in appearance.





Plan your pruning – the pear tree shown above clearly shows several leaders at the tallest part of the tree.

In the photo to the right Marcus has separated out the competing branch leaders to show the main leader.

Having identified your main leader, branch leaders and the transition to this years new growth – it’s time to start pruning!

Remove half of this year’s growth from all of your tree’s branch leaders – cutting just above a leaf with some sharp secateurs – the new growth that remains after pruning will bear flowers and consequently fruit next year.


Lastly, if you are pruning a new tree – leave the main leader alone in its first year.

If your tree is more than a year old go ahead and reduce its length by half of its new growth as you did with the branch leaders.

The result will be a tidy, well maintained tree ready to provide you with delicious healthy fruit next year.

Fancy some fruit of your own?

We stock a wide range of fruit trees and soft fruit canes and plants – and some really sharp secateurs!

We can also supply apricots, cherries, figs, grapes, nectarines, peaches and an enormous range of berries…

Give us a call on 01473 310604 or ask one of the team next time you’re in-store if you’d like to know more.


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