Although pruning is definitely a human invention, and trees can go without it to develop naturally,
it presents the advantage of renewing the plant’s vigor and increasing its fruit productivity. Harness your fears and reach for the shears! If you follow these tips, you should quickly get familiar with this winter pruning procedure, and will get better at it as years go by.
- For all the other types of pruning, check out all the articles about pruning plants.
Pruning pome trees
Pip vs stone
“Pome” fruits often also go by the name “pip fruits“. It’s a particular group of trees of the Rosaceae family: Malinae (formerly Pomoidae). They are unique in that the fruits have a small number of pips surrounded by quite a lot of flesh. Apart from apple and pear, other examples include quince and medlar.
- The other famous group of orchard fruits are the “stone fruits” which include peach, nectarine, plum and other such species.
Pip fruit trees can be pruned in winter as long as it doesn’t freeze. Stone fruit trees don’t cope very well with winter pruning.
Why prune pip or pome trees?
Pruning pip fruit trees increases fruit formation and will let your orchard bear more and more fruit as years go by. You control growth to maximize light and air circulation.
- No pruning is ever a bad pruning, except if it is too drastic or if performed at the wrong time.
It will help your tree grow well. You can also have a clearer view when shaping these trees into espalier patterns.
In winter, it’s also the time to remove moss, lichen and old bark which are hiding places for all sorts of parasites and diseases.
- Read our page related to pruning apple and pear trees.
Advice on growing apple trees and pear trees
Smart tip on pruning apple and pear trees in winter
Take time to observe the different types of buds on pear and apple tree branches. Flower buds are short and stout, branch buds are longer and pointy. This should guide you in snipping branches off at the right spot.