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help with pruning apple tree

(8 Posts)
pinkelephantnightclub Wed 10-Jun-15 15:10:18

I have a 2 year old apple tree (planted last year as a 1 Y old) - is M9. It wasn't pruned at all last year- is now covered in fruit buds(like 30 or so)- I think it has way too many for such a young tree- should I prune it now? any advice gratefully received!

shovetheholly Wed 10-Jun-15 17:58:50

Step away from the loppers!

Most apple trees are pruned in winter. A few do get a summer prune, but they are mostly the fancy trained ones (fans, cordons etc). And even were you growing one of those, it's too early to do it now! (July/August would be the right time).

Overfruiting is not solved by pruning either! Don't worry about the fruit buds. It is normal for apple trees to have a lot this time of year. It is also normal for a lot of them to drop off naturally in the next month or so, as the tree adjusts naturally (it's called the June drop).

If you still have tons and tons of fruit after the drop, then it's time to thin. But wait and see, because you may lose too many if you start now!

Stinkersmum Wed 10-Jun-15 18:00:39

As shove said, don't prune this time of year. Not before October really. Then you can give it a good go. It'll be fine.

AlternativeTentacles Wed 10-Jun-15 18:02:10

No - don't prune it now. In fact, don't prune it at all until you have researched how to prune it. The tree will get rid of what it doesn't need.

pinkelephantnightclub Wed 10-Jun-15 18:59:52

thanks all- will wait and watch- also need to decide if going to grow as bush or cordon or espailer-- any advice? anyone have any experience of the latter 2? am a little (lot) intimidated by those styles!

shovetheholly Thu 11-Jun-15 10:42:54

I have an espalier that's about 3 years old, and I've just started another 15 at my allotment, which I'm using as a kind of fence around the edge!

It's relatively easy to do cordons, fans, or espaliers, provided that you have an appropriate space (neither will appreciate deep shade) and you are prepared to watch a few Youtube videos to learn how to prune them and how to identify a fruit bud. Chopping it into the right shape is pretty straightforward. It's the pruning to get it to flower that's a bit more tricky (I am still learning about this).

However, a couple of things about your situation: espalier trees really want to be on a more vigorous rootstock than M9 - M26 or ideally MM106. This sounds counterintuitive, right? An espalier is a small tree, after all! But when you are hitting a tree with such hard pruning, it needs something with a bit of oomph behind it. You could, however, do a cordon with M9.

Also, check your variety because this matters. You do not want to be doing an espalier or cordon tree with a tip-bearing variety, for instance.

You need to make a decision really quite soon, because your tree is actually getting on a bit for this kind of treatment - an unfeathered 1 year maiden is normally used.

pinkelephantnightclub Thu 11-Jun-15 16:54:03

it is a pinova-- and is spur bearing-and supposedly self fertile-- will have a big think and make the decision! am ruling out espalier on your advice- so cordon or bush.

shovetheholly Fri 12-Jun-15 10:24:41

Interesting - I thought that one was self-sterile. (I wouldn't worry too much: there are often enough apple trees around for pollination and clearly yours is doing just fine). Tis a lovely-tasting apple, and no mistake!

Obviously, the decision depends a bit on your space and what you want it to look like. I am really excited by my trained trees, but my favourite is still the old, slightly leaning bramley in my garden, which is just a standard bush shape. I think it is quite possibly as old as my 1930s house and still crops regularly, though in a slightly biennial fashion (you'll probably find the same with your pinova). I landscaped around it because I couldn't bear to cut it down.

I love apple trees!!!!!

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