Pruning a Three-Year Old Fruit Tree (Video)

How to prune a three-year-old fruit tree ready for a fruitful life as a half standard or bush-sized adult tree.

These videos apply equally to trees with fruits containing pips (such as apples and pears) and those containing stones (such as plum and cherry).

The plants in this video are all selected from our fruit trees for sale.

Fruit trees are available as bareroot plants from November through to March, and many are also available pot-grown for most of the year.

All of our fruit trees are guaranteed for one year.

Pruning a half standard - third and last year (of formative pruning):

TRANSCRIPT

In this video, we show how to prune a fruit tree to form a half standard. Half standards are taller than bush shaped fruit trees, but not so tall that you need a crane to pick the crop: ladders will do. It is important to prune fruit trees for the first three years of their life to help build a strong framework for the fruit to grow upon and define their shape.

After that, the branches will be strong enough so that they don't snap under the weight of the fruit. As a golden rule, apple and pear trees need to be pruned in winter and stone fruit trees in spring. The overall idea is to create a balanced goblet-style shape that allows the air and sunlight to come in, the trees to stay healthy and produce a decent crop.

The third year of pruning is much less severe than those in the tree's first years. In other words, this tree is beginning to grow up. First of all, as always, it is really important to use a sharp pair of secateurs.

Blunt tools can create a tear in the branch that will encourage disease. It is also essential to sterilize the secateurs at the beginning of each pruning session and between trees, again, to avoid spreading disease.

This is an example of a fruit tree aged three.

The open goblet-style shape is clear to see around the main three to four strong branches pruned and developed from the year before. There are a lot more side branches, and you can start to see the emergence of a proper trunk. Here, it is clear to see the different stages of the tree's growth from its base as a maiden in year one, to the offshoots after its first prune in year two, and the extra structure that has been created in the third year.

Count three to four buds up from the bottom of the secondary branches that have been located. Snip them at an angle just above the bud.

The tree should now resemble something like this, with three to four solid primary branches being clearly defined. Take the remaining primary or main branches and measure down to roughly one third from the top of the tree from where the secondary years growth starts to an outward facing bud. Cut each branch just above the bud, make sure the cut slopes outward so you can encourage the tree to branch away from its centre.

It is important to cut the branch at an angle away from the bud so that the water doesn't settle on the cropped surface and allow rot to set in. You are now left with the perfect framework to create the basis of a strong, healthy fruit bearing tree. In future, pruning will be about extending or containing the framework of the tree and removing damaged, diseased, distorted, or misplaced world.

You should also start to be able to enjoy some really nice homegrown fruit.

Pruning a bush fruit tree - Year 3:

TRANSCRIPT

In this video, we show how to prune a fruit tree in its third year of life to form a bush, which is the classic shape of a fruit tree, where there's a nice arrangement of branches around a short trunk. Fruit trees need to be pruned annually for the first three years of their life to help build a strong framework for the fruit to grow upon and define their shape.

After that the branches will be strong enough so that they don't snap under the weight of the fruit. As a golden rule, apple and pear trees should be pruned in winter and stone fruit trees in spring. The overall idea is to create a balanced goblet-style shape that allows the air and sunlight to come in, the tree to stay healthy and produce a good crop.

The third year of pruning is much less severe than those in the tree's first years. In other words, this tree is beginning to grow up. First of all, as always, it is really important to use a sharp pair of secateurs.

Blunt tools can create a tear in the branch that will encourage disease. It is also essential to sterilize the secateurs at the beginning of each pruning session and between trees, again, to avoid spreading disease.

This is a classic example of a fruit tree aged three.

The open goblet-style shape is clear to see around the main three to four strong branches pruned and developed from the year before. There are a lot more side branches and wood.

Locate the primary branches and the secondary branches that have developed since the last year's pruning. Here, it is clear to see the different stages of the tree's growth from its base as a maiden in year one, to the offshoots after its first prune in year two, and the extra structure that has been created in the third year.

All crossing or misplaced branches should be cut, as well as any diseased, damaged or dead wood

When cutting, make sure you keep the secateur blades flushed flat to the main trunk so you can get a nice clean cut. This is important as it helps prevent regrowth and disease.

Count three to four buds up from the bottom of the secondary branches that have been located. Snip them at an angle just above the bud. The tree should now resemble something like this.

Take the remaining primary branches and measure down one third from the top, to an outward facing bud. Cut each branch just above the bud, make sure the cut slopes outward so you can encourage the tree to branch away from its centre.

It is important to cut the branch at an angle away from the bud so that the water doesn't settle on the cropped surface and allow rot to set in. You are now left with the perfect framework to create the basis of a strong, healthy, bush shaped, fruit bearing tree.

In future, pruning will be about extending or containing the framework of the tree and removing damaged, diseased, distorted, or misplaced wood.

If you're thinking of adding fruit trees to your garden, or giving them as a gift, why not browse our selection below. And don't forget those planting accessories!

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Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

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