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How to maintain fruiting spurs on apple trees

How to maintain fruiting spurs on apple trees


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Become a better gardener! Discover our new Almanac Garden Planner features forFall means apple harvest time! See our tips on harvesting apples—as well as caring for apple trees, apple tree problems, and everything about planting and growing juicy apples in the home garden! Even in a small space, you can plant a hedge of dwarf apple trees or an apple espalier and yield a successful crop.

Content:
  • The 1-2-3 rule of pruning
  • Espalier an Apple Tree
  • Stepover Apple Trees: Winter Pruning
  • Fruit and Nut Review - Apples and Pears
  • Fall Care of Fruit Trees
  • Fruit Tree Pruning Guide
  • Pruning and Protecting Your Fruit Trees
  • Biennial Fruiting
  • How to Prune & Espalier an Apple Tree to Get Fruiting Spurs
  • A local version of The Love The Garden website exists
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Grow Apple Trees - Complete Growing Guide

The 1-2-3 rule of pruning

Apple tree pruning varies according to the age of the tree. In this article, we describe how to prune apples trees that have just been planted , then apple tree pruning for trees up to 8 years old , and then for trees 8 years old and over. Lastly we look at pruning espaliered apple trees and other special cases. Plant the new tree in its dormant period , from November to April, and cut it back to the height where you would like to see new shoots develop. Cutting the central leader encourages the growth of lateral branches from the wood buds below.

If the tree already has side branches, leave them in place, and tie them down using string and clothes pegs. Tying down side branches encourages the tree to come into production more quickly. This is because unpruned branches tend to produce more fruit beds when it is held horizontal or below horizontal ty tying.

In this way you can begin giving the tree its ideal pyramidal shape without pruning at all. Always seal pruning cuts. Apples trees less than 8 years old should be pruned in winter and in summer. Winter pruning stimulates tree growth and root growth. Summer pruning keeps tree size under control, diverts energy to fruit growth, and helps regular cropping. Winter pruning should be performed in the period December-April, when the tree is dormant. Here are the main tips on pruning apple trees in winter :.

Summer pruning on apples should be performed in late August in the UK, when the lower parts of new shoots are stiff and woody. The basic principle of summer pruning is to remove vertical shoots that are shading the fruit. Here are the tips on pruning apple trees in summer:. The tree has now reached its prime, and it has attained its mature structure. At this stage, winter pruning maintains desired tree size. Summer pruning prevents overcropping, creates healthy spurs and darts, and keeps the tree structure open to sunlight, for optimum fruit ripening.

Free-standing apple trees can be pruned in winter every year to reduce excess old wood. Winter pruning can be performed from November to early March , though we recommend pruning in early March, just before growth recommences. Here are the tips on winter pruning apple trees over 8 years old:. Watch a video tutorial on winter pruning a mature apple tree. Regarding pruning apple trees over 8 years old in summer, it is important to summer prune every year , because this enables the tree size to be controlled.

Winter pruning increases tree size. For summer pruning, timing is critical. In addition to controlling tree size, summer pruning improves the colour of the fruit. This is best achieved from 10 to 14 days before the fruit is picked. As a general guide, summer pruning should be done in the period June-September. Here are the tips on pruning apple trees over 8 years old in summer:.

Watch a video tutorial on summer pruning apple trees. Most apple trees are spur-bearers , producing fruit bud on two-year-old wood, and on the short, wrinkled spurs that develop on older wood. A few varieties are tip bearers, in which fruit bud grows at the tips of 2-year-old wood. Examples are Irish Peach and Cornish Gillflower. Summer pruning on tip-bearing apple trees can be performed as for spur-bearers as detailed above, taking care to preserve the shoots that will produce fruit over the next two years.

Espalier apple trees are pruned in summer, typically in late August. Here are the steps involved in pruning espalier apple trees:. Normally the objective in apple tree pruning is to keep the tree to a manageable size.

If on the other hand we want a large tree , the pruning technique will be different.Here are some tips on pruning apple trees to promote size :. If soil conditions are favourable and the trees are growing very strongly, any type of pruning will further delay getting the trees into cropping. Encourage the development of the central leader by light tipping , to stimulate the tree to make useful short side branches.

This will encourage fruit bud production. Remember that the energy needed for growing one pound half a kilo of fruit is equivalent to the formation of 3 feet 90 cm of growth.

Therefore a regular crop is the best way of controlling excessive wood growth. Follow the instructions for pruning apple trees in the sections above, and help reduce tree vigour by also following these recommendations. Follow the instructions in the sections above for pruning apple trees under 8 years old, with these extra considerations to promote growth :. Follow the instructions in the sections above pruning trees over 8 years old with these extra considerations:. Watch a video tutorial on pruning a year-old Bramley tree.

View our site map , an index to the content on this website. How to prune an apple tree Home » How to prune an apple tree. Pruning a new apple tree Winter pruning apple trees up to 8 years old Summer pruning apple trees up to 8 years old Winter pruning apple trees over 8 years old Summer pruning apple trees over 8 years old How to prune tip-bearing apple trees How to prune espalier apple trees Pruning apple trees to promote tree size How to prune young, over-vigorous apple trees How to prune young, under-vigorous apple trees How to prune apple trees that have gone out of hand Pruning a new apple tree Plant the new tree in its dormant period , from November to April, and cut it back to the height where you would like to see new shoots develop.

How to prune apple trees up to 8 years old Apples trees less than 8 years old should be pruned in winter and in summer. Winter pruning apple trees up to 8 years old Winter pruning should be performed in the period December-April, when the tree is dormant.

Here are the main tips on pruning apple trees in winter : First, remove any dead , diseased or damaged wood. If your objective is to grow a tree of manageable size, that crops well and can be harvested without a ladder, you will want a conical shape with four or five lateral branches and a central leader. Look at the tree and decide which branches should be removed to achieve this. It is always best to make as few cuts as possible , by removing a complete branch rather than lots of smaller branches.

Your aim will typically be a tree with a central leader and enough lateral branches — generally 4 or 5 — to create a fruiting platform well exposed to sunlight. For some vigorous varieties such as Bramley, another tree shape that enables good control of tree size is the delayed open centre tree , created by removing the central leader. Watch a video tutorial on the delayed open centre tree. Leaving a short stump encourages regrowth at this junction.

Apply heal and seal. If the young tree needs more structure — more lateral branches — you can encourage this by winter pruning. By cutting above a wood bud , you encourage the growth of new branches from wood buds below the cut. Learn to tell the difference between wood buds and flower buds , which will be visible from November on.

Wood buds are smaller and are flush with the branch. Flower buds are larger , fatter and have a downy surface. To encourage the tree to produce a branch where you want, prune above a wood bud that is facing the required direction. To create an open, pyramid-shaped tree, you will generally prefer outward-facing wood buds.

Remove surplus, unproductive branches. These comprise suckers — thin branches growing from the ground or lower trunk — and longer vertical shoots without fruit bud. These produce just leaf and tend to shade the inner part of the tree.

Examine the branches growing downwards. These are often very productive if light reaching the branch is at an optimum level. If however the branch is fully shaded and no longer needed within the tree structure, then remove it. Remove crossing branches — a branch that is running over or under another branch. These also create shade, and if they are in contact, the rubbing wound can form an entry point for disease. Remove vertically-growing branches that are in competition with the central leader.

You may have to select the central leader yourself. The decision depends on the position of the branch which should be central and symmetric.

Regulate flower buds. Some apple varieties produce flower buds on short shoots known as spurs. These grow year after year and can develop a lot of fruit bud, causing over-production, smaller, lower-quality fruit. If necessary, shorten spurs down to flower buds, or remove some of the spur branches completely.

Work on the lower part of the tree first. The objective is to achieve a fruiting platform with enough foliage to feed the fruit and the tree. You will see some shorter vertical shoots that have a terminal bud. You will see some vertical growth shoots in the top part of the tree. Summer pruning is performed when the tree is fully active and is performed on young wood. So it is not necessary to apply heal and seal to wounds.

How to prune apple trees more than 8 years old The tree has now reached its prime, and it has attained its mature structure. Winter pruning apple trees over 8 years old Free-standing apple trees can be pruned in winter every year to reduce excess old wood. Here are the tips on winter pruning apple trees over 8 years old: First, remove any dead , diseased or damaged branches. Remove crossing branches. Then look at the overall structure. If the tree has not been pruned regularly, it may be necessary to remove some complete lateral branches in order to restore a fruiting platform with four or five lateral branches.


Espalier an Apple Tree

Apple tree pruning varies according to the age of the tree. In this article, we describe how to prune apples trees that have just been planted , then apple tree pruning for trees up to 8 years old , and then for trees 8 years old and over. Lastly we look at pruning espaliered apple trees and other special cases. Plant the new tree in its dormant period , from November to April, and cut it back to the height where you would like to see new shoots develop. Cutting the central leader encourages the growth of lateral branches from the wood buds below. If the tree already has side branches, leave them in place, and tie them down using string and clothes pegs.

Dwarf trees take up less space, bear fruit at an earlier age, and are easier to spray and prune. While dwarf apple trees are easy to find in the nursery trade.

Stepover Apple Trees: Winter Pruning

Pruning corrects the natural tendencies of fruit trees that may counterproductive to growing fruit or undesirable. The natural tendency to grow too many shoots and large branches ultimately causes shading in the interior canopy and lower branches. This lack of sunlight inhibits flowering and weakens branches. Trees with an open, well-lit canopy grow larger fruit compared to trees that grow into a thicket. Because they are trees, they can grow to tall heights, which creates difficulty in harvesting. Branches that grow beyond a height or length that is desired can be shortened or removed by pruning. Trees can be pruned to have a certain shape that is designed to be more fruitful or to be visually pleasing within the landscape. Pruning is the standard way to remove dead and dying branches.

Fruit and Nut Review - Apples and Pears

Harvesting fruit from your own trees is a most satisfying activity, but care must be taken to ensure the fruit will last when stored through the winter months. Proper storage of winter keeper varieties of apples can provide you with apples through winter and into early spring. Fall is also the time to look after the health of the tree. A few simple practices will help the tree through the winter dormant period and ensure its vitality for spring flowering and fruiting.

Contributing Writer Pruning fruit trees is an art more than a science. There are general rules and methods that need to be observed when it comes down to making a cut, but knowing where to make that cut is an art.

Fall Care of Fruit Trees

When pruning apple trees, it is important to keep in mind that, from a pruning point of view, there are two types: spur bearing and tip bearing. Each type needs a different approach to pruning to achieve the best fruit yields. Summer pruning of apples is really best carried out in late summer or early autumn, when the fruit has already been picked to avoid knocking them off. This also prevents the fruit and branches being exposed to too much full summer sun which might occur if pruning were carried out in the height of summer or late spring. Heritage apple trees are mainly spur-bearing varieties, originating in the Northern hemisphere. Spurs are produced on two-year-old wood which can persist for years but also needs to be renewed by pruning.

Fruit Tree Pruning Guide

Fruit trees can be grown for fruit or shade. If you are growing a fruit tree for shade, pruning is not necessary. If you are growing a fruit tree for fruit, you should prune. A fruit tree that goes unpruned will produce fruit, but in all likelihood, the fruit will be smaller and less flavorful than fruit that is grown on a pruned tree. Young Fruit Tree Training and Pruning. Apple Pruning.

Regulate flower buds. Some apple varieties produce flower buds on short shoots known as spurs. These grow year after year and can develop a lot of fruit bud.

Pruning and Protecting Your Fruit Trees

Pruning is basically the removal of selected parts of a tree to control its growth to suit our purposes. Unmanaged trees eventually become overcrowded with non-productive wood, and tend to produce every second year biennial cropping. When they do fruit they are likely to produce lots of very small fruit that are too high to reach.

Biennial Fruiting

RELATED VIDEO: Pruning Fruit Trees The Basics Step Three The Branches

There are lots of ways to shape fruit trees depending on the priorities of the grower and the space available but pruning is not just about pretty forms. Pruning can help trees to fight off infections by allowing for good ventilation and should encourage your trees to produce more fruit. In a community orchard there are many factors that influence how we manage the trees, such as highlighting the beauty of fresh, local fruit; bringing life and vitality to parks and streets; and creating habitat for urban wildlife. The open-centred bush tree meets our requirements, as it is relatively straightforward to prune, low enough to be accessible for fruit harvest and encourages trees to develop habitat features such as hollows when they are older.

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How to Prune & Espalier an Apple Tree to Get Fruiting Spurs

Pruning is a very important part of proper apple tree care and maintenance; however, many people think the task overwhelming. Keep these things in mind when approaching pruning your apple trees:. NOTE: This is part 8 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow apple trees , we recommend starting from the beginning. When your apple tree is dug up from our fields to be shipped to you, and any time a tree is transplanted, the root ball loses many of its fine feeder roots. These hairlike, delicate roots are important to the process of absorbing moisture and nutrients in the soil. Pruning, in this instance, helps balance the top growth of your tree with the root system, giving the roots time to re-establish in your yard to support existing top growth and new growth.

A local version of The Love The Garden website exists

JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Some species of fruit tree - apples and pears are the prime culprits - can get into the habit of alternating heavy crops one year with carrying little or nothing the year after.



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