Did you know that summer is the best time to prune fruit trees? It might feel strange to remove twigs and branches while fruit is on the tree. However, pruning at the height of the growing season can help ripen the crop. It also brings good harvests in future years. Most trees older than 4 years thrive on a summer pruning system. It’s a proven method for shaping and managing trees in small spaces such as urban gardens and allotments.

Growing season pruning is probably the most puzzling part of looking after fruit trees. Books, videos, and generic advice add to the confusion. Pruning is a complex practice learned over some years. The best way to learn is with real trees and an experienced guide.

Local fruit gardeners are lucky to have the Horfield Organic Community Orchard (HOCO) in the city. Home to 100 fruiting trees of many different varieties and needs – it’s the perfect place to learn why, when, and how to summer prune. A one-day course for absolute beginners takes place Saturday 27 July. Participants learn the basics of pruning Apples and Pears, and are guided as they work with real trees.

Seasoned fruit growers, keen to deepen knowledge and improve skills, have the opportunity of a weekend workshop on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 July. This course covers all aspects of pruning Apples and Pears in the growing season – from forming young trees, to renewing fruiting wood on established free-standing and trained trees.

Participants learn by doing, and gain hands-on experience and confidence. They are led by Shannon Smith, a knowledgeable and down-to-earth tutor. Group sizes are small, and early booking is advised.

Pruning Apple & Pear Trees in the Growing season
Saturday 20 July & Sunday 21 July, 10am–4pm

Introduction to Pruning Apples & Pears
Saturday 27 July, 10am–4pm

Contact: hocopips@gmail.com or 0117 3731587
More information on the HOCO website: https://tinyurl.com/OLcourses2019