Renovating Fruit Trees Effectively
The main reason for pruning apple and pear trees is to promote healthy new growth, (fruiting wood).
The best time to prune your tree is late winter to early spring, just before bud formation. An open goblet structure needs to be achieved making it easier to maintain.
The removal of dead, diseased, and damaged wood, allows for healthy new grow and sunlight to access and ripen the fruit.
If you have an old tree in your garden and you want lots of fruit it might be better to replace the tree. Saying that, old trees are great for wildlife. They also add structure and make a good focal point in your garden landscape. As long as your tree is healthy and doesn’t pose a safety concern then there is no reason why your tree should not be retained after renovation.
The image you see here is of me removing branches from the centre of a very old apple tree, for a customer who had recently relocated and were keen on making some landscaping improvements in their new garden.
Being that the tree obviously hadn’t been pruned for several years, it had become congested and overgrown, and last year had not produced enough healthy fruit.
I decided to give the tree a little bit of attention by opening up the centre of the tree and removing the lower and vertical branches, which weren’t going to be productive. Then the crossing, rubbing, dead, dying and diseased branches were also removed.
On trees which have been left to get overgrown, it is wise to prune back 1/3 over a period of a few years. This way you won’t shock the tree and encourage a surge in unproductive growth.
Fingers crossed that the newly renovated brambly produces some healthy fruit this year.
More renovation work will be required this time next year to complete the restoration of the tree.