Forum home Fruit & veg

Young apple tree pruning

Hello all, my friend has a young apple tree (2yr old I think from memory and about 4ft tall).  We need to know how to prune it this Winter but although the RHS site says reduce main branches by a third and leave any young laterals completely alone, my RHS encyclopedia (20 yrs old!) says to reduce laterals. I'm really confused.  The tree only has about 4 or 5 'branches' coming from the main stem (each are only about 18inches long) with each branch having some smaller branches growing off them (are these the young laterals?).  I know to remove the three d's and crossing or inward facing wood but after that we're a bit stumped. Any help would be appreciated.  Many thanks.


  • Other than removing any obvious 'crossing' branches, at that size I'd leave it well alone for ayear at least. In fact, until it has gained a bit of height, perhaps not prune it other than to remove any damaged or poorly angled growth for the year after that, too.  Let it flower, but I'd remove fruit this year. A good feed and a mulch about late April. 


  • Oh, yes, those are the young laterals, but the tree's only a baby, so it needs to acquire some stature before being rigorously pruned or you'll have a bonsai!


  • turmericturmeric Posts: 769

    Excellent!  Can't do any harm to let it put on a bit of growth.  I keep reading that now is the time to prune apples and pears so we thought we should but we shall leave well alone for the time being. Many thanks H-C

Sign In or Register to comment.