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Apple and pear trees – more information

Apple and pear trees provide long years of delicious, crunchy fruit. Well suited to a cool climate, these English classics are a fantastic investment for the garden and definitely make their initial cost back in the value of the fruit they produce. Train your apple and pear trees into espalier or cordon shapes to add an extra level to your walled garden or turn your patio into an extra special mini orchard using specially developed dwarf fruit trees.

How long does an apple tree take to grow?

Dwarf apple trees take around two to three years to reach their full size. They start to crop from their second year, sometimes earlier. Larger apple trees growing on a full size, vigorous rootstock can take between five and twenty years to reach maturity but should start cropping from their third year. Time until maturity varies depending on location and variety. Generally, if you provide your tree with the right amount of food, water and light growth is healthy and at an optimum rate.

When to prune apple trees

Prune your free-standing apple tree during the winter months. These untrained trees need an open shape that provides plenty of airflow through the centre of the tree to minimise the risk of fungal diseases. Remove any damaged branches at this time too.

For trained apple trees, in cordon or espalier, shape in late summer. Always use sharp secateurs to prune your trees, and clean the blades with a mild disinfectant between trees to avoid potentially passing disease between them.

When to prune pear tree

Pear trees appreciate a prune in the winter months. Anywhere between November and March when your pear is in its dormancy and free of leaves is the perfect time to prune. Aim to create an open goblet shape. If you are training your pear, you can cut and shape your tree in the summer but always make sure to use clean, sharp equipment.

When are pears ready to be picked

Pears generally ripen around August time. Keep an eye on your fruit during this month. When your fruits reach a good size, gently twist them off the tree while they're still firm to ripen indoors. It's important to beat the wasps when you're waiting for your pears to ripen indoors. If you're worried about insects or birds getting to your fruit before you do, net your tree to keep them safe.

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