Winter pruning of cordon apples and pears

Cordons of the pome fruits are typically pruned twice per season; first in summer and then in winter. The end of February or perhaps the first week or so of March offer the last opportunity to get this done before bud break. It is not, though, a bad time to prune as cuts are likely to heal better now as the sap rises than they would if made at the start of the dormant period. As we had spent much time replacing the post and wire supports, the old ones having rotted away, we were running out of time to get this job done.

Our apples needed quite serious pruning as they had become overgrown and unproductive. The pears, though, are more productive and only needed a light pruning and some thinning of the fruiting spurs. Although we do not have too many plants – just nine of each usually, and this year only six apples to deal with – it can still be a time consuming task so finding time to fit it in can be tricky. The rejuvenation of the apples will take several seasons so that will continue later in the year when the summer pruning is undertaken and reviewed again next winter. For now, though, we are looking forward to the imminent display of blossom, which should be plentiful on the pears, despite a large crop last year, but sadly rather sparse on the severely pruned apples.

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