Overly vigorous and over sized trees
Trees that are too vigorous
If the tree is too vigorous, sending out an excessive amount of growth each year, consider also carrying out some pruning in summer. Summer pruning depletes the tree's resources and will help reduce vigour.
Note: this is done it addition to winter pruning and so is a little different from the summer pruning that is carried out on restricted fruit trees such as cordons and espaliers.
- Prune laterals (side shoots) longer than 30cm (1ft) to 15cm (6in) all over the tree to encourage fruit bud formation
- Spread the pruning between mid-August to mid-September. Prune ripest wood first (branches that stopped growing and have formed a terminal bud)
- Do not tip prune all laterals, just the more vigorous ones
Trees that have become too large
Even with regular winter pruning, apple and pear trees are likely to become gradually larger making picking more difficult and potentially outgrowing the available space. Ultimately trees may require renovation.
To avoid the need to renovate, when the tree has reached an optimum size for the rootstock that it is grafted on, regulated pruning can be used instead of the process described here. Regulated pruning controls the size without affecting the fruiting potential of the tree.