Apple and pear trees are traditionally pruned in the Winter when they are dormant. However they also benefit from a pruning in Summer just before and after harvesting. 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.
Apple tree after it has had the summer growth cut off the top.
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.
Netting on fruit tree, placed there just after the tree was pruned.
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 as apple and pear trees put only produce fruit in second year growth.
If your fruit tree has not reached the desired size 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