Left to its own devises a tree will grow. Of course it will. However, pruning an apple tree well is one way of supporting it into old age.
By keeping a check on badly placed, overcrowded, crossing, weak and inward facing branches a tree will stand a better chance of a long life. An apple tree can start showing veteran features as early as fifty years into its life and thus a well-managed traditional orchard has the potential to be a haven for wildlife.
We are keen to point out to the orchard owners we work with that we manage orchards to achieve standing deadwood. Once there is dead wood, their orchard becomes alive with invertebrates, birds, mammals, fungi, lichen and mosses. Therefore, a sensible pruning regime is a great way to look after your trees and here are just a few of our top tips:
• Prune in the winter to create a strong framework of branches on young trees and promote vegetative growth on all trees.
• Prune to downward, outward facing buds when encouraging growth in young trees.
• Prune in the summer to restrict growth and keep water shoots in check.
• Limit your pruning to a quarter of the canopy in any year.
• When removing an entire branch, do so at the branch collar.
We are available for talks and run practical training days on best pruning practices. Our next day course is on 4th July, where we will demonstrate the above principles and share further insight in to best pruning practices. All our future courses can be viewed at http://www.herefordshirewt.org/whats-on
If you would like to join us contact firstname.lastname@example.org