Today I was pruning Apple trees in Witney. If you want a good crop, December, January or February is the best time of year to prune them. If you aren’t to worried about the crop then the autumn is an ok time but the crop won’t be as good as the colder months.
An old man with a flat cap once told me that if you can throw your cap in the middle of the tree and it not get caught on any branches in the middle but land on the main branches, then you’ve done a good job.
Next, cut off the epicormic growth, these are more commonly called water shoots and are the sprouty type you see growing randomly on the main scaffold branches. Really these are a stress reaction to being cut to hard and then they think “aaargh – I need to survive” so they just put on these shoots.
Finally that leaves the business end of the apple tree and that is the fruit bearing ends. Its really key to try and remember not to cut to much at once, otherwise you will stress the tree and cause a reverse reaction to the one you want.
This customer was really pleased with the job and said he’d happily recommend us.