Pruning Pear & Apple Trees (Video)

How to Prune Apple & Pear Trees

Pruning your apple & pear trees is very simple and doesn't take that long.

Watch the video below to see how easy it is. You will need some sharp secateurs.


Hi, I'm Andi from Ashridge Nurseries. We’re looking at this lovely old pear espalier and we’re going to give it a little prune to help it on this year. It’s a beautiful sunny day in February, which is a perfect time for us to prune. There's no frost because we don't really want to prune with frost, but it's gorgeous - a lovely spring day.

It's the perfect time to do this to any of your apples and pears, so just get stuck in. It's a really easy thing to do. These trees are always quite vigorous, so it's very hard to do them any real damage. Pruning is a normal thing for them and they will expect it.

One of the things we're trying to do is match and control the top growth so that it doesn't feed the root too much. If the root grows loads, then the top will grow loads, which will make the roots grow loads, which will make the top grow loads. So we always need to manage our fruit trees, whether they’re apples or pears at this time of the year.

One of the things we're looking for here is the difference between a leaf bud, which are these and then a fruit bud or flowering bud. And we want to try and keep our flowers and lose our leaves to a degree. So we're just going to prune out some of these bits shorter than the summer pruning down to a single bud, and that will be that job done.

So I'm just looking up here, which is this year's growth. These are leaf buds and we’ll reduce that down to one bud, nice and tight to the node, which is a leaf point. We can see where it was summer pruned down to three buds, and we're going to reduce all of those now to one. And it's a very quick job. You just keep moving through, looking for one bud and nipping those little bits off just above the growing points or the bud.

Same here. We've got a little bit of damage on the end. We've got a very early flowering bud, so I'm actually just going to take that back to there and get rid of any damage. There’s three to four nice flower buds on there, and that's going to give us great fruit, and we just keep working our way out until this branch is done.

This end here, we don't really want growing too far, so it's been stopped here, but we've got quite a bit of leafy growth. I'm actually going to stop that just above the flower growth. When we come back down there, make sure you’ve got all your ends tidy. We don’t want any dead ends in these, we want good clean buds, because if we’ve got any dead wood, that's a sort of vector or path or a fungus or other disease to move in like canker, so we want to keep everything really good, really tightly pruned. And that’s that branch done. And you saw how quick and easy that was.

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