Forum home Fruit & veg

Pruning crab apple

Hi all. 
I've just taken on a new garden that has a new crab apple tree trained on a pleach frame. I'm hoping someone can help. It isn't overgrown and nicely fits the 1.5m x1.5m frame it came with but my question is. What pruning needs to be done? Is it like pruning an espalier just higher up the branch and is it too late to do this now? Should I wait for the winter dormancy again? I dont want it to get any bigger really.
Hoping someone can shed some light.


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,114
    According to the RHS, crab apples just need light pruning in spring or early autumn.   However, as yours is trained to a frame you should keep it tidy by removing any new shoots that appear from the trunk below the pleach framework as they appear and then cut back stems which exceed the height and width of the framework. 

    I would think the best time to do this is after you've enjoyed the spring blossom or else immediately after leaf fall in autumn so you can see the stems more clearly and also prune without risk of frost damage to fresh cuts.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Andy163Andy163 Posts: 59
    Ok thanks Obelixx. I would assume pruning after flowering is best then gives the plant a years growth to then flower again before pruning to the framework repeatedly.

     My only concern was if pruning the flowered stems back to the framework surely this may remove fruiting spurs or should I leave 2 or 3 buds on the stem?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,768
    I would summer prune the new growth back to a couple of buds, just as you prune an espalier ... don't do it until August ... doing it before then will just induce a lot more new growth.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Andy163Andy163 Posts: 59
    Sound like a good plan. Thanks for the info. Love getting advice on this forum!!
Sign In or Register to comment.