Prune Apple Trees

All pruning has a purpose
The main aim is to:
- Assist in the establishment of the tree after planting.
- Make sure that the tree has enough light and air
- Train the tree to an acceptable shape and size
- Increase the size of the fruit
- Encourage or control growth, whichever the tree demands
- Remove dead, diseased and damaged branches
- Strengthen the branch structure.

A one year old tree has a single stem and must be pruned as soon as possible after planting to encourage the budding of new side stems some of which will become the framework of the tree. Cut the main stem back to about one third, making a clean cut just above a bud. The buds below the cut will grow outwards in the first summer.

In the second winter after planting, look carefully at the tree and se1ect the three or five branches that will best create an open, vase like shape. Cut these branches back by one third and cut any other branches away cleanly at the main stem. Always prune to an outward facing bud.

In the third winter, each of the main branches will have grown shoots. At this stage, if you only chose three branches in the last year, then se1ect another two branches that will further develop the framework of the tree so that five well-spaced, open branches will remain. These should be pruned to by one third and the top side shoots of the other three initial branches can be used to elongate the structure. Cut these back by one third and everything else on the tree other than the five leaders should be cut back to 8 - 10cm from their point of growth.


Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: