PLANT OF THE WEEK
more open centre. I restrict the height to a maximum of 2-2.5m to let me collect the crop from the ground rather than from a shoogly ladder. With taller, less controllable mature specimens like my Victoria plum, I can easily reach higher fruit by scaling branches from the open centre.
Start by removing all dead branches and any damaged during stormy weather.
Remove and destroy any cankerous branches and then clean your tools with hot soap and water before continuing.
Keep the centre open by removing inward-growing branches and prune out any that are aiming for the heavens.
To allow for good air circulation and light, cut out crossing stems, removing the older, less productive stems.
Thin out a congested clutch of fruiting spurs, leaving healthier new ones. Reduce or remove downward-facing and low-growing stems.
And finally stand back and check the overall shape of the tree and satisfy yourself that it’s elegant enough to admire throughout the winter.
Overall appearance also applies to crab apples. Although branches can be removed to prevent a congested, tangly mess, they need little pruning.
Restrict pruning to snipping off any low or straggly branches.
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