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Pruning a Two-year-old Fruit Tree (Video)

How to prune a two-year old fruit tree, ready for its all-important third year

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 from our fruit tree selection.

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 fruit tree - the second year:

TRANSCRIPT

In this video, we show how to prune a fruit tree in its second year of life 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 should be pruned in winter and stone fruit trees in spring. The overall idea is to create a balanced goblet-style shape. This allows the air and sunlight to come in, the trees to stay healthy so it can produce a really good crop of fruit.

Don't be alarmed by the severity of the pruning we will show you. Just think of it as giving the tree a good haircut. First of all, it is really important to have 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, age two, on its way to becoming a half standard. It should show signs of three to four strong main branches developing from below the cut made on the first year. Look at the tree's shape, and select three to four, evenly spaced, strong branches at the top of the tree to become the tree's primary branches. Remove the remaining or misplaced branches.

Cut the branches off at the stem. 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. You should now be left with three or four branches resembling the start of a goblet or open cup-style shape that you see here.

Measure two thirds of the way down of each of the remaining primary branches and cut just above an outward facing bud so you can encourage the tree to branch away from its centre.

It's 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. After that, your job is done and you can rest for another 12 months until it's time for the third year pruning.

Pruning a bush fruit tree - Year 2:

TRANSCRIPT

In this video, we show how to prune a fruit tree in its second 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 once a year 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. This allows the air and sunlight to come in, the trees to stay healthy so it can produce a really good crop of fruit.

Don't be alarmed by the severity of the pruning we will show you. Just think of it as giving the tree a good haircut. First of all, it is really important to have 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 age two. It should show signs of three to four strong main branches developing below the cut made on the first year, as well as some other smaller stems. Select three or four evenly placed and strong branches at the top of the tree to become the primary branches.

It is better to avoid those rising straight up from the top, so you can keep the ideal goblet shape centre of a tree, like the one shown at the top here.

Remove all the other weaker, damaged, or misplaced branches you see back to the main stem. When you cut the branches you don't want to keep, make sure you keep the cutting blades flushed flats to the main trunk so you can get a nice clean cut. This is important as it helps prevent regrowth and disease.

You should now be left with three or four branches resembling the start of the goblet or open cup style shape that you can begin to see here.

Measure two thirds of the way down of each of the branches selected and cut just above an outward facing bud, 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. After that your job is done and you can rest for another 12 months, until it's time for the third year pruning.

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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