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Master Gardener pruning tips

Master Gardener pruning tips

Pruning your fruit trees is an important job to maximise your fruit crops and keep your plants healthy. It can be confusing! So to help you out  Master Gardeners have shared their top tips to successful pruning.

Winter pruning should be carried out whilst the trees are dormant, from late November to early March. So it’s not too late!



Rosemary Guiot

1. Arm yourself with the correct, sharp tools for the job and know how to use them efficiently.  I bought myself some telescopic loppers which I have been using this afternoon from the ground. Fantastic! Next attempt will be from up the tree.

2. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless.


1. Get your cut as clean as possible, as this will speed up the healing process and the cut is less likely to get infected.

2. When sawing off branches, cut as close to the nobbly ‘collar’ as possible, as this is where the new bark cambium is most active and the wound will heal quicker.

Derek Miller

1. Have sharp secateurs, and when replacing the blade make sure that the nut and bolt is properly tightened, and then oil the secateurs.
2. Practice; the more pruning you do the easier it becomes.  And don’t worry too much the worst that can happen is that you don’t get as much fruit in one year.


Rodney braves the ladder – pruning at Ryton

Helen Kelly

1. Make sure your secateurs are sharp and disinfected between each tree, a rough and scruffy cut is more susceptible to disease.

2. Bend down upward growing new growth to produce replacements for any branches that are removed after 4 years and remove all other upward growth to maintain an open framework.

John and Sandy Young

1) If you can throw your hat through the middle of the tree, you have got it right regarding clearance in the centre of the tree. (a quote from a Mr Hayes an orchard man from Hampshire)

2) Concentrate on retaining the young growth cascading downwards and pruning out the growth pointing to the sky, which will only produce fruit out of your reach.

Keith Wellsted

1. Sharpen your secateurs!

2. Be hard/bold.

 Rodney King

1. Work on a 4 year rotation, i.e. cut out laterals after 4 years

2. To encourage fruiting, tie down one year old growths, so that they point downwards.

Carole-anne Roper-Hall

1.Ensure all pruning tools used are super-sharp,to ensure a clean cut.

2.Ensure all pruning tools are thoroughly clean and sterilized before use and during use (when moving from one tree to another). A good product to use is citrox.


Derek and Carole-anne – excellent pruning!

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