To prune spur fruiting apples:
Remove dead, diseased, damaged and dysfynctional (crossing, obstructing) growth.
Remove up to 1/3 of old wood (including the above pruning) creating an open, balanced, goblet shape. Imagine looking from above and seeing a wheel with even spokes.
Spur everything else.
Remove tips by 1/3 to an outward facing bud.
We started to prune our Landrew Road Community Garden apples on 23rd January 2021.
As you can see in the before images, this dwarf apple was congested with a lot of crossing branches and a crowded centre. To fix this, this year we've removed a large amount of these branches. This took us to to our 1/3 limit, so we decided not to spur this year (though you could).
Next winter we'll be able to finish clearing away the congested growth, then hopefully spur and tip prune.
Scroll down for more 'standard' pruning.
This apple has a poor shape and some canker but otherwise not in need of a regenerative prune. So it is more typical of an annual winter prune.
When pruning a fruit tree, aim for a balanced shape with a clear centre. It might help to imagine yourself looking down on the tree, and think of a wheel, with nice even spokes radiating from the centre. This is the sort of ideal tree shape we're working towards.
We've cut back some branches to strong buds which hopefully will produce new growths to fill the large gap. Removing excess growth on the otherside will help reduce the weight, and so risk of leaning or even falling.
We've taken the opportunity to remove a lot of canker and damaged agrowth. As well as spurring all remaining side shoots back to a couple of buds to encourage fruiting.