Friday, 10 August 2012

Cut back tall growth on Apple trees now

This is the stuff you lob off
Every year your apple trees grows putting out new soft branches. Some are obligingly horizontal which is the best for encouraging flowers and fruit to form. Some are vertical, growing high up and making the tree taller, taking the fruit further away from you and making them harder to reach. There is also a theory that this tall growth is packed with leafy growth, restricting light in the centre of the tree, preventing the bark getting warmed up, which is essential in encouraging flowers and fruit to form.

Elstar Apple ripening in the evening sun

Charlie once told me that summer pruning must be carried out in the last week of July or the first week of August. He explained to me that this pruning was just to lob off the soft new growth that was growing vertically(straight up) at the top of the tree. In CVHs walled garden they had a beautiful central espaliered apple tree "hedge" and for all the world it looked like someone just clipped back the top of the hedge when this Summer pruning was done.

In places like I.S.S.A where they graft huge amounts of apple trees every year they don't cut off this tall straight growth until February or March because they use it to create new trees with grafted root stocks. But unless you are planning on grafting some of your apple trees next April you can safely chop off this growth now.

These soft leaves could go on the compost heap

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