Saturday, 18 November 2017

Now is the time to prune your apple and pear trees

WHO among you has not had an abundant crop of apples from your trees this year?

WHO among you has not had an abundant crop of apples from your trees this year?

But how many fell to the ground, and were left there bruised and damaged, because they were simply out of reach? If so, now is the time to take action in preparation for next year.

When pruning a fruit tree the rule of thumb in the industry is to reduce any tree canopy by no more than a third in any growing season.

With fruit trees that have not been pruned for several years, I would exceed that ratio, if you take into account not only reduction in height, but also thinning of the canopy and removing all the “water shoots”, the upright whippy growth that produces little to no fruit and prevents flow of air and light.

Tackle all apples, pears and quinces, but leave stone fruit (plums, gages, cherries, peaches and apricots), which should be pruned only in the summer months to prevent disease.

If in doubt about where to start or if the trees are large, I would recommend you appoint a qualified tree surgeon to undertake the work.

Plant any additions to your existing varieties now and be sure to check with the supplier about pollination groups, unless you stick to self-pollinators, such as Cox, Scrumptious, Red Falstaff or James Grieve apples and the reliable pear Conference or Concorde.

* Louise Venter has extensive plant knowledge and is a practising garden designer. For more details and to enquire about off-season discounted rates, call: 07803 583687, email louise_ venter@yahoo.co.uk or visit www.louiseventergarden design.com

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