Have you pruned your fruit trees?

have you pruned your fruit treesWith only a couple of weeks left in the pruning calendar, I want to encourage those of you who haven’t yet, to give your fruit trees a good prune!

When you prune you get the very best out of your tree.

As simple as that.

A fruit tree that towers over your head is a waste (unless your passion is keeping the birds fed.) A fruit tree that leaves you wounded or bald each time you engage with it is a tragedy. Fruit trees should be kind, and picking fruit should be a pleasure – the stuff memories are made of.

When I was young and adventurous I thought it was pretty cool to leap about a tree with a chainsaw, now I’ve changed my mind.  I much prefer to prune, pick, spray and inspect with both feet firmly on the ground. If you prune every year, that’s exactly what you’ll get. An annual prune is a lovely little job.

  • Start by cleaning up the old wood. This will reward you with a flush of replacement wood in the coming season. An annual process of renewal like this keeps your tree productive and compact.
  • Then let the light in. Light is so important for flower and fruit development. When you let in light you also let air flow (another key player.)
  • Remove or reduce shoots as needed; redirect branches that need it; trim branches back to suit and stop your tree reaching the moon.

Such a lovely little job.

Bringing a big, out of control fruit tree back within reach however is overwhelming. It takes a good few years, and then another few to return to regular bearing. A young and adventurous pruner will be your best friend to guide you through this process. (Sometimes the job is so big I recommend beginning again.)

PS All fruit trees aged 1 to 3 years need an annual prune. These few first cuts are peace of mind; the creation of a kind tree, within reach makes them so.


  1. Shirley Hampton says:

    Thanks for this Kath! I missed doing mine last week (good time according to the moon calender) and the next good date is 18th August but that’s a bit late isn’t it? So I should just do it now and hope it’ll be OK?
    Thanks very much

    • Hi Shirley

      Either will be fine! I also follow the moon, but there are times when the moon and the time I have available don’t coincide, so I just go ahead anyway knowing all will be fine.

      happy pruning!
      kind regards

  2. Emma bint says:

    We have moved to a new property & we have a well established pear tree. It is about 4-5 metres tall. But all the fruit was wizened, black fell off while still small. I gave it a good feed of some slow release fertiliser in April & spent most of yesterday giving it a well needed prune ( I think the poor tree has been neglected for few years). Is there anything else I can do for it. Do you think I might get some pears come harvest time?

    • Hi Emma

      It sounds to me like you have fire blight, which can be a tough disease to manage.

      When you were pruning did you notice the health of the wood? A tree in good heart will have golden wood right through to the centre. Fireblight (which is a bacterial disease) gets into the wood and slowly destroys it – beginning as reddish streaks and eventually drying out and dying. The dead wood becomes sunken and the bark around it gets cracked. Sometimes the wood turns black also and sap will ooze out of the cracks.

      Let me know if this sounds like whats happened and I’ll send some suggestions your way.
      best Kath
      ps I hope you washed your seceteurs afterwards – dip them in some bleach.