Winter Pruning

We inherited this old man of an apple tree with the house.

The tree had been left to overgrow for a decade, so a couple of years ago we got a tree surgeon to take a look at it.

He gave the tree a hard prune, opening up the branches, which can be clearly seen where the new growth has sprouted.

I don’t know what type of apples it bears, but it produces a lot! Fresh from the tree, they taste quite bitter but make delicious cooking apples.

I don’t know about you, but I found the idea of pruning this established tree pretty daunting.  Since the tree’s hard prune by the tree surgeon, a lot of vertical growth has sprouted.  Feeling unsure, I decided to leave this new growth for this year, as it has been reaching into the empty central space of the canopy.  I’ll re-visit them next year.  So for my first apple tree prune, I concentrated on the the obvious bits first…..

New growth at base of tree

Suckers on the lower trunk

Dead branches and growth

Get pruning…..

I used sharp loppers, a pruning saw and secateurs.

I started with the new growth at the base of the tree using the loppers; worked my way up the trunk cutting off any suckers with the secateurs and sawed off a dead branch.  

I removed any branches that were obviously crossing or rubbing against others, to prevent the tree causing damage to itself.

To encourage a pleasing shape, I trimmed some of the main branches by about a third, up to a bud that would face in the direction I want it to grow.  I left any new side shoots alone, to give them a chance to develop and create fruit.

 

I finished off with some multi-purpose compost dug in around the base of the tree.

Hopefully we can look forward to a scrumptious harvest and some Autumnal apple pies!

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