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When and how should I prune an ornamental Apple tree,
mine looks a bit spindly, would like to bush it up a bit
Nadger the badger
When you say ornamental apple - do you mean a crab apple? Do you have the name of the variety?
How old is the tree?
Sorry for the delay in replying, been working night shifts this week,
I bought the tree about 16 months ago, it stands about 5 feet high now, so I assume it's relatively young and the variety name is "royalty"
Nadger the Badger
Hi Nadger, Yes that is young and it is important to prune it properly in the early years to help it form a good shape. Prune it when completely dormant - if it still has any leaves on, leave it for a while - I usually do mine in January/February, but never during a prolonged hard frost. For both ornamental and edible apples, the pruning is the same when they are young. Cut each branch back by about a third to half, to a bud facing in the direction you want it to grow (usually that's an outward facing one.)
Branches which are pruned will have stronger growth next year than any which you don't prune, so although it seems illogical, if the tree is growing weakly on one side, prune that side harder.
Here's the RHS advice on pruning young apples:
and the diagrams here may help:
Bumped for rubber
Bob's pretty darn good Nadger, isn't he? Not much he doesn't know about fruit and veg
As opposed to 'your uncle' Nadger....