In order to get the most out of your fruit trees, it is a good idea to get into a routine of regular, yearly pruning. This will ensure not only provide a good future yield, but also keep your trees healthy and looking great in the garden.
When to properly prune your fruit trees
If you tree is free standing, then Winter is the season for pruning. Trained fruit trees, fanned on trellises, wires and pagodas will need to be pruned during Autumn.
Ensure that you cutters (secateurs, saw, etc) are both clean and sharp to avoid needless infection. I tend to wipe my secateurs after use with linseed oil to preserve and guard against rust.
Where and how to prune
Always remove and dying, weak or diseased branches. Try and keep the branch matrix as loose, open and airy as possible by removing centre branches. Branches growing close to or crossing over each other are at a higher risk of disease, will not pollinate as well and may rub together and cause damage to bark.
Cut back new branches to about 1/3 of their length if the tree has already reached its desired size. Always prune immediately above an outward facing bud.
It is important to remember that fruit will develop on last years growth. So don’t be too vigorous and remove all of this. Keep between 30-50% on your tree to ensure a good crop.