Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Help us achieve our goals
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Summer pruning apples and pears allows sunlight to ripen the fruit and ensures good cropping the following year. This is the main method of pruning for restricted forms such as cordons, espaliers, fans and pyramids.
Summer pruning is mainly for apples and pears trained as restricted forms: cordon, espalier, fan, pyramid, spindlebush. Trees grown as standards or bushes are managed with winter pruning.
Summer prune when the bottom third of the new shoots is stiff and woody. Generally, this will be from mid-July for pears and the third week in August for apples and about ten days later in the north. To reduce the possibility of secondary growth it can be left until late August.
Judge the exact timing according to the vigour of the plant, the weather and locality.
Summer pruning involves cutting back new shoots to allow light to reach the fruit.
New shoots are stiff and woody along their bottom third, with dark green leaves and a cluster of leaves at the base.
Although pruning shouldn't cause any particular problems for the plant, you may see some other common issues:
Apples: choosing cultivarsApples: identifying fruit budsApples: stepover (horizontal cordon) trainingApples and pears: growing and training as cordonsApples and pears: pruning new treesApples and pears: renovating treesApples and pears: winter pruning
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
In this fully revised edition, you’ll find updated advice by the RHS experts on what, when and how to prune.
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9