Formative Pruning of Apple Trees

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Cider Boys
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Formative Pruning of Apple Trees

Postby Cider Boys » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:01 am

I have an old remnant cyder orchard, most trees are very old 100+ years and hollow, but up to a couple of years ago one of my sons and his friend still managed to make very good scrumpy from them. Since then several have split or blown over and I was fortunate enough to obtain a grant to plant some 2 year old bare root maiden trees on M25 rootstocks as replacements. I also managed to graft scions from the old trees on to M25 rootstocks that have all taken.

The new trees are 2 years old but I did not prune them last winter when I planted them, my question is can I prune them now?

The pruning I would do is to let a central leader grow untouched but cut back feather branches by a third and remove all lower feather branches close to the trunk, can this be done now in the summer or should I wait until next winter when they are dormant?

Many thanks for any information.

Barney
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Geoff
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Re: Formative Pruning of Apple Trees

Postby Geoff » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:14 am

This sounds a good plan. I always have difficulty deciding what to do with the leader, I know you prune it in the Winter but never sure how young you start. Found this for deciding on when to Summer prune:

"When to prune. Summer prune when the bottom third of the new shoots is stiff and woody. Generally, this will be from mid-July for pears and the third week in August for apples and about ten days later in the north. To reduce the possibility of secondary growth it can be left until late August."

I did find something that discussed cider trees https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional- ... der-trees/
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Cider Boys
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Re: Formative Pruning of Apple Trees

Postby Cider Boys » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:57 pm

Thanks for the information Geoff, I spoke to a National Trust gardener who looks after fruit trees and he advised me that it should be ok unless the branches were very thick, which they are not. He explained that it would be best to concentrate the growth into the leader so I have sniped the feather branches back to the leader trunk this afternoon. May leave shortening the remaining branches to later in summer or wait until next winter. As you know traditional cyder trees are pruned to encourage a long leader so the tree can be shaken to harvest the apples. All the trees seemed ok and the ones I grafted have taken but I have noticed a little browning and curling of the leaves on the Kingston Black trees which I know can be a difficult tree to grow. It could be due to this long hot spell of weather so I may water some of them.

Best wishes

Barney
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robo
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Re: Formative Pruning of Apple Trees

Postby robo » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:33 pm

Barney I'm jealous ,cider is my favorite tipple it has been for years I wish I was in a position to make my own with my own apples
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