London (change)

How to prune apple trees in summer


Once apple trees are established it's best to summer prune the spur-fruiting varieties. This will encourage the development of short flowering shoots or 'spurs' that go on to bear clusters of fruit. Summer pruning is ideal for keeping trees in shape and involves pruning the soft, current season's growth before it has a chance to become woody.

How to do it


Cut back the leading shoots of each branch by half their length to encourage the production of side shoots. Only prune the current season's growth in this way, cutting to just above a leaf.


Cut back all remaining side shoots to two or three leaves from the base of the current season's leafy growth, cutting just above the bud.

Our tip

The soft stems and leaves that are cut off apple trees during summer pruning are perfect to add to the compost heap where they'll rot down quickly.

Always prune to an outward-facing bud so that the centre of the bush or tree is kept open. This helps reduce problems with pests and diseases.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to prune apple trees in summer
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

majfran7 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I have what I believe is a Bramley apple tree. It has white fur growing on some of the old growth. Any solutions would be appreciated.
Mick Clements

321birdy 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Beginner! -advice required please! I have a cox's orange pippin apple tree which I planted last autumn at the top of my garden where it gets plenty of sun, Its about 6 foot but clearly a new tree. I have been reading articles on pruning etc, and wondered if I ought to prune it at all this year or should I just feed it & leave it for pruning till next year? If I prune it, I fear there will be v little left! - cheers

clockendgooner 24/11/2011 at 15:28

i have a braburn apple tree that i am growing in a 30 litre pot,this year i replaced about 2ins of john innes no1 &fed with slow release feed this is the second year i have had it there was no fruit last year should i get fruit this year?&should i follow your advise & prune this year?

Scotchy 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I hava a young weeping crab apple tree (Royal Beauty) do I prune it in the same way as you describe in your HOW TO DO IT section?
If not what would you recomend!

gardening Rev 11/08/2013 at 17:42

I have a Bramley and a discovery do I prune them now?

See more comments...