Basic tree management

The most basic form of advice, given by Stephen Hayes, is the stripped down check list of things to cover in pruning:

1) Get the shape of the tree right in the early years by removing asymmetrical or badly placed wood by winter pruning.
2) Remove deformed, overlapping and diseased branches
3) Thin out excessive summer growth (late June-July)
4) Paint over large pruning wounds e.g with Arbrex (careful, it doesn't come out of clothes!)
5) Allow light and air into the centre of the tree
6) Keep your tools sharp, but...
7) ...Don't cut yourself!
8) Favour horizontal branches, avoid sharp upright angles as these tend to break under the weight of a good crop
9) Thin fruit appropriately to avoid excess numbers of small apples
10) If in doubt, just saw out a quarter of the oldest branches every second or third year and leave the rest of the tree alone

New Trees

Starting to manage trees really starts in the spring after you have planted it. Young trees should not be allowed to produce fruit in their first few years – depending on what rootstock you have chosen. Therefore, blossom should be ‘rubbed out’ by hand as it appears. Failing this, any small apples should be removed. This allows the tree to get on with settling in, establishing its roots and growing a bit.


Getting back to Mr Hayes exposition of tree management, please select from the following to view descriptions and video clips of the Fruitwise practice. Again, this is used with the permission of Fruitwise.