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Is it ok to cut back apple trees now?

susananwmssusananwms Posts: 213
I have got 2 young apple trees about 2 to 3 years old.  They have both got very small apples growing at the moment.  Will it be ok to cut back leaves and branches that have no apples on them so that the growing apples can get more sun?
Everywhere I have looked so far says to prune in spring after the frost and about cutting out dead wood and thin branches.  Thing is there are loads of new leaves and branches with no apples on them and I think these are just shading the growing apples
One tree is trained against a fence and the other one is free growing but does not get much sun in the afternoon


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,909
    Your trees are extremely young. They need time to grow and build up their strength.

    One way that they build up their strength is to grow leaves. The leaves contain a green substance called chlorophyll. When sunlight hits the leaves the chlorophyll converts it into sugars which help to feed the plant. Cutting off the leaves of a young plant will hinder its growth and develpment.

    Also, for such young trees, producing fruit is like allowing a young animal to have young of its own. Young dogs and cats (and even humans) are capable of producing offspring but it isn’t advisable. They need time to grow and develop themselves.

    So my approach would be to limit the fruit and save the leaves.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,396
    Don't prune now; wait til winter.
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,170
    Training fruit to a wall or fence, means you should summer prune as you are trying to limit the overall size of the tree.  However I agree very young trees need to build up first.  TBH you should really take off all fruit this year and let them concentrate on growing.  If you must,  and you're desperate to try the fruit you could leave one or two,  but I really mean one or two. Next year you can have more.
    I  recommend you look at the RHS Website,  you will get all the advice you need there.
    AB Still learning

  • susananwmssusananwms Posts: 213
    Thank you so much for your replies, I did not know any of that.  i will definitely not prune and think I will remove all the apples that I was concerned about being in the shade.  Will definitely leave no more than a few apples on. Really glad I came on here now.  Will try and find fruit care on this site too
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