edible trees & shrubs
summer pruning of apples and pears
Apple and pear trees are traditionally pruned in the Winter when they are dormant. However they also benefit from a second pruning in Summer just as the fruit is developing.  This is because apple and pear trees put on a lot of new shoots in Spring and Summer and these new shoots can cause some fruit tree management problems.

Benefits of summer pruning
Photo of apple tree with Summer growth.
Apple tree with Spring and Summer growth shoots at the top.

Photo of apple tree with Summer shoots pruned back
The same tree after the shoots have been pruned back.

Photo of apple tree with bird netting over it
Summer pruning makes it easier to put netting over the tree to protect the fruit from birds.
A. Makes it easier to put netting over the tree to protect ripening fruit.

B. Increases the air flow around the fruit and allows more direct sunlight to reach the centre of the tree. Lack of air flow and sunlight slows the ripening process and increases the risk of fungal diseases.

C. Allows you to pick the fruit more easily.

D. Reduces the amount of Winter pruning you will have to do.

how to summer prune
Summer pruning is easy to do. Simply cut the shoots off at the base where they emerge from the older established branches. They are easy to spot as they are usually thinner, more flexible and lighter in colour than the older branches.
They also will not have any fruit on them.

If your fruit trees have not reached the size that you want them to reach then do not prune the shoots that are pointing in the direction that you want the tree to grow. They will develop into mature branches in the following season

Other fruit trees such as Plum and Nashi trees will also benefit from a Summer pruning.