Maintenance of our collection of apple trees is an ongoing job, spanning the year, but with trees being out of leaf over winter is the time when we step up the pruning work. Over the last three three winters pruning work has centred around pruning to get the trees back to a manageable size and attractive shape, pruning for fruit has not been our priority, that is until now.
As the trees started to go dormant, back in the autumn, a few larger branches were pruned out, to tweak previous years of shaping, and then in January trees that were not pruned last winter were hard pruned to get them more to the shape and formation that we are aiming for. With it now being February we have started work on pruning the water growth of last year, thinning the stems and also shortening them, which is hoped will encourage the formation of fruiting spurs. This has been a job that many people have lent time and energy towards, with a simple pruning guideline instruction given, this type of pruning has been relatively easy for pruning beginners to grasp and do to a good standard.