How to Prune your Fruit Trees


Trees, hedges and borders

Pruning of Fruit Trees

The best time to prune your deciduous fruit trees are from June month until July.

What items do we require to prune?

Always have a sharp secateurs, loppers, gloves, Lime sulphur, Steriseal, Bounce back and Compost.

Why do we prune fruit trees?

  • To encourage rejuvenation.
  • To regulate fruit production and to increase the size of the fruits.
  • To shape the tree so that it allows the sunlight into the centre of the plant.
  • To boost the immune system of the tree.

Always remember the 4 Ds when pruning:

  • The first D stands for Diseased wood which must be removed to ensure good health of the tree.
  • The second D stands for Dead wood which must be pruned.
  • The third D stands for Dead wood which must be pruned to encourage new growth.
  • The fourth D stands for Diagonal(crossing branches) which must be removed to prevent branches from growing inwards.

Pruning methods

The Central leader pruning method :

  • This method is used to prune e.g. Apple,Pear,Pecan trees.
  • One main shoot is allowed to grow up in the center of the tree.
  • Select two or three branches arising from the “central leader” that are pointing in different directions.
  • The lowest branches should be at least 50cm from the ground.
  • Cut the selected branches back keeping the lowest ones longer than the upper ones creating a pyramid shape.
  • The main stem should be cut back to im in height.

The V-Shape method

  • This form of pruning is suitable for all pome and stone fruit(Peach, Nectarines and Plums)
  • The shape should resemble a V-Shape.
  • Select at least three or four branches at least 50cm above the ground and each pointing in a different direction.
  • Choose the best side branches and cut the main stem back to above the level of the highest side braches selected.
  • If the tree is young and does not have a lot of side branches cut the main stem back to 1m.
  • It is important to note that Lemon trees are only pruned for shape and to remove any dead or sick wood. The more leaves it has on the trees the better the fruit production.