When is the best time to prune apple trees?

Apples and Pears
Ensure that both the quantity and the quality of your apples are improved by the correct pruning in winter and summer

The Oxford Pruning Company specializes in the pruning of fruit trees. We like to prune apples and pears every winter to ensure a good crop of fruit the following season.  Trees that are not pruned become less productive and congested with old branches. Our aim is to create an open goblet shape with a framework of about five main forks. We also pay attention to the fruiting spurs, ensuring that they properly thinned so that they can develop new wood, and withstand the weight of the fruit that they will carry in summer.

Removing unproductive water shoots. close to the main trunk
Removing unproductive water shoots. close to the main trunk

We always wait until the tree is dormant season before starting to prune. The sap is not rising in the plant, and there is less risk of disease and distress to the plant.

But winter pruning is only half the story. Summer pruning is just as important  a process in encouraging fruiting wood to grow, and improving the quality and size of fruit.

Summer pruning is best left until the first week of September i.e. not before the terminal bud has formed. In September, the plant has stopped growing for the year, and it is slowing down. Pruning off some of the vegetative growth from the plant will encourage forking and stubby growth that will eventually form the fruiting spurs in the following years.

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