Pruning apples this summer? Get top tips
If you’ve got apple trees, don’t forget to prune them in the summer to regulate new growth on your plants and prevent diseases.
With some help from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, we’ve got some top tips below to help you prune in the summer months.
What’s more, there’ll be plenty of grow your own advice and tips at the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair from 1-3 September at Audley End House & Gardens, Essex. On the Let’s Grow Stage, you’ll find be able to make the most of your apple harvest with Sara Ward. Find out how to press apples for juice and cider, and use the pulp for jelly and wine.
Tips for summer pruning
Make sure you use the best tools for pruning – for clean cuts that heal quickly. Avoid loppers, as they can bruise the stems.
Avoid pruning fruiting spurs on your apple tree. These spurs are often short and stubby with closely spaced leaves. If your fruiting spurs are bunched too closley together, cut away the old branches to open up the branches and allow better air circulation.
Remove stems that clearly must go: anything dead, diseased or damaged, and any upright shoots growing above the top tier of branches.
Shoots that will need pruning are produced from the main branches and will have been produced this year. Cut these back to within three to four leaves of last year’s growth. The upright shoots should be around 18-23m long.
Cut just above a leaf joint, at an angle away from it. Shorten all side shoots and leave unpruned ones where needed to extend the main framework of the tree. Where shoots have developed from laterals that were pruned last year, cut this year’s growth back to one leaf.
Prune your apple tree with the aim of spacing the knobbly fruiting spurs around 10cm apart to avoid overcrowded spurs and allowing better air flow to the plant.
Don’t miss the Let’s Grow Stage at the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair where you’ll find be able to make the most of your apple harvest with Sara Ward. Find out how to press apples for juice and cider, and use the pulp for jelly and wine.