Pruning a young apple tree

Young apple and pear trees need a good pruning in their first years of life, something that is not difficult at all, so we must take the necessary time to do it well, because if we do a good pruning in the first years, this would make the following years we find ourselves without any type of problem in this type of trees.

This pruning method is suitable for one and two year old apple and pear trees, which are going to be planted in the traditional way. A correct pruning of young trees creates in the following years a very attractive specimen, with large and strong branches full of fruits and with trees that will have a long and productive life.


The purchase of apple and pear trees

When buying a new apple or pear tree , you should always select trees with a good root and stem system or buy this type of tree at a trusted nursery, where they can answer your questions.

One – year – old trees are called ‘ maidens ‘ and are sold with and without branches and buds .

“Buddy Maidens”

They are the trees that developed lateral shoots from the main stem

 , so don’t forget to buy one of these trees with a large number of branches and that are in the shape of a cup.

These trees can be more expensive than “budless maidens.”

“Maidens without buds”

They are trees without lateral branches and that form a single stem. They are often cheaper than “bud maidens” and are almost as productive.

When to prune apple and pear trees?

Pruning should be carried out when the tree is dormant , between leaf fall and bud break (normally between November and early March).

how and when pruning is done

How to prune new apple and pear trees?

When pruning, always use sharp scissors to make cuts and make these cuts just above the shoot and on a slope.

First year

Trim the central stem just above and make a cut about 75cm from the ground, ensuring that three or four evenly spaced shoots remain. Cut these branches in half, cutting just above an outward-facing bud.

Remove the remaining lower branches.

Prune a shoot 75 cm above the ground , leaving three or four healthy shoots, as doing this type of pruning will stimulate the production of strong vigorous shoots.

Second year

Select the best three or five shoots to form the main frame of the branches and remove all the others. Cut selected shoots in half, cutting just above the bud which should be facing outwards to encourage the formation of a cup-shaped branch structure.

Remove the remaining lower branches.

following years

Reduce the previous year’s growth on main stems or primary branches by a third, cutting just above a healthy outward-facing bud, leaving eight to ten branches.

Leave the lateral branches arising from the main stems unpruned.

Discard any firmly upright shoots that develop at the top of the tree.


Do not leave the fruit of the young tree during the first year. Eliminate any fruit as soon as you see it.

In the second year, if the tree has taken hold and is growing well, you can let one or two fruits develop , as this can be useful to check if you have to wait another year for these trees to bear good fruit.

Apple and pear tree problems

There are some problems associated with pruning and with these types of trees, however problems that can arise include diseases such as apple canker, monilia, brown rot, and frost damage.

Pruning a young apple tree

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