Thinning Fruit On Apple Trees

apples early stagesYou may well be thinking that life is too short to spend time in the orchard thinning fruit. In our view, any time spent in an orchard is a bonus. There are, though, some good reasons to thin fruit particularly if your trees are heavy croppers. The main one is that the tree will produce better quality and size fruit – albeit fewer of them – but there are other benefits

  •  heavy crops can cause limb damage
  • fruit will ripen more evenly as more light and air can penetrate the branches
  • it may help reduce the spread of pests and diseases
  • heavy cropping in young trees can set them back

Continue reading

Cut Two: Removing An Entire Branch

 

IMG_1723

 

Correct pruning keeps fruit trees healthy. Trees with few overlapping or competing limbs have a better chance of a long fruitful life.  In young and mature trees, allowing more sunlight and air to penetrate the canopy aids tree health and fruit production. Older and veteran trees can be kept in balance, or even rebalanced to prevent them from falling. However, the very act of pruning is causing a wound to the tree. Using the right pruning technique, a tree will seal the wound using its own mechanisms and little harm will come to the tree.

As part of our Guide To Best Pruning Practice In Four Cuts, this blog will look at Cut Two which is used when removing a whole branch back to the trunk or parent branch.  Continue reading

Cut One: Promoting Vegetative Growth

IMG_2037

Young trees if not pruned develop weak branches bearing excessive fruit early in their lives, but reduced crops as they mature. They develop their own shape, rather than the one the orchard owner wants, usually with an excess of crowded, vertical material. With correct pruning  in the early years, the tree will develop a strong structure of framework branches that will crop well and be easier to manage in the future.  In our last blog, we introduced our Guide to Best Pruning Practice in Four Cuts.  These are the four essential pruning cuts that once mastered will provide you with the tools to manage your fruit trees throughout their life. This blog will look at Cut One which is used to promote strong, new growth.  Continue reading

Best Pruning Practice In Four Cuts: Introduction

IMG_0697Why do we prune a tree?  The simplest answer is to give the tree the best chance of a long, productive life. There are, though, many reasons for pruning. For fruit, we want light and air penetrating the centre of the tree; to benefit wildlife, we may want to rebalance a tree that is no longer productive so that it remains standing; or we may just want to create an attractive shape.

Most pruning guides get very complicated very quickly.  We will show you 4 cuts and how the tree will respond to them. Each pruning cut has a specific purpose such as controlling growth, removing damaged or badly placed branches or stimulating the formation of flowers and fruits. Once you understand how a tree will react to being cut in these 4 ways, you have the tools to manage your fruit trees.  Of course, you can choose to get into the complicated stuff – but start here. Continue reading