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Pruning Rowan/Mountain Ash

Anyone give me any ideas about pruning off lower branches of a Rowan tree?  As the bungalow is only 8 years old, I am guessing the tree is about 8-10 years old, approx 15 feet tall currently.  On moving into the property, we have cut a new fruit bed and the bottom branches of the tree, about 5 feet off the ground currently, get in the way.  I would like to take about 4 off to allow for freedom of movement in this small space.  I understand, however, that Sorbus aucuparia do not take well to pruning.  Any suggestons?


  • Hello Lydiaann,

    Sorbus aucuparia needs to retain a good framework to support the fruit, which can be quite heavy. Otherwise, branches can snap off. It sounds as though yours has already grown into a handsome tree. The cultivars that are grown for their attractive bark colour are pruned to show off the trunk, by removing lower branches. There is nothing wrong with doing this. It is difficult for me to be more specific without seeing a picture of this tree. However, in principle, branches can be removed. Take care to make a neat cut, close to the trunk, not right on the trunk, but not leaving a large snag either! A good way of doing this is to reduce the weight of the branch first, by cutting the end off it. When you make your final cut, you do not want any branch weight that could make a tear in the trunk.  For timing, I would advise doing it in late summer. Sorbus can be susceptible to silverleaf.

    I hope you'll soon have both a lovely tree and a great fruit bed.

    Emma. team.

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