How to prune patio fruit trees
Even if you don’t have a huge garden, many fruit trees can be successfully grown as patio plants in pots. A dwarf rootstock is used to ensure that the trees don’t get too big, making them ideal for containers.
During the early years a light tidy up is all that’s required until your fruit tree reaches the required size. After that, pruning a dwarf tree follows the same guidelines as their traditional sized counterparts.
Here’s how to prune your patio fruit trees to ensure they have a long and healthy life...
How to prune dwarf apple and pear trees
This mini 'Golden Delicious' apple tree makes great use of space
Copyright: Visions BV, Netherlands
Dwarf apple and pear trees should be pruned between November and early March when they’re dormant:
- Begin by removing any dead, diseased or weak growth as well as any branches that are crossing. Try to create a clean, open framework.
- On spur-bearing trees (those which produce fruit on short shoots on older wood) reduce the length of the main branches by about a third.
- Cut to a good, outward-facing bud, making a slanted cut down and away from the bud to prevent rain pooling on it.
- Remove any growth crowding the centre of the tree to allow better air circulation and more light.
- On established trees, thin any congested fruit spurs.
- Start with those on the underside of branches as this fruit will struggle to ripen.
- Shorten others, leaving just the strongest so there’s plenty of space for developing fruit.
- On tip-bearing trees, stop branches getting too long by cutting back some of the older stems to a younger shoot.
How to prune dwarf plum, sweet cherry, apricot and peach trees
Prune dwarf apricot trees in late spring
Image: Apricot 'Aprigold'® (patio) from Thompson & Morgan
Stone fruit trees like dwarf plums, cherries, apricots and peaches grown in containers need little pruning. The guiding principle should be to remove dead, diseased or weak growth and ensure that branches are not crossing.
If you do need to cut them back, wait until late spring to prune apricots or peaches, and leave cherries and plums until summer to prevent infections such as silver leaf or canker.
For more advice on growing fruit trees, check out our dedicated fruit tree hub page. For more advice on container gardening, head to our patio hub page.