As well as garden coaching, I also offer specialised pruning eg Fruit trees (apple, pear, plum, cherry), Acers or sensitive pruning of any other tree or shrub which you don’t wish to be ‘lopped’ – a method used by some tree surgeons. Fruit trees can be trained as cordons, espaliers or fan or as untrained standard (open) forms.
Fruit trees often yield a poor crop, become diseased, or produce a rampant unbalanced regrowth after heavy-handed pruning. This is often the case when cutting back is carried out by gardeners, landscapers and tree surgeons who have a lack of training or because they are offer a service for a tight budget.
The purpose of pruning apple and pear trees is either to train them into a shape such as an espalier or cordon, to grow against a wall or fence, or, if growing as a standard bush tree, to maintain an open goblet shape which makes it easy to pick fruit and allows air to get to the branches, so avoiding disease. Trained forms of Plum and Cherry are usually fan shaped against walls.
When it’s not snowing or at sub zero temperatures, January/February is the time to prune apple and pear trees, whilst they are dormant. Espaliers and cordons will also need to be pruned in summer to maintain their shape. Plums and other stone fruits should be pruned in late spring or summer during dry weather as they are prone to silver leaf disease which enters the tree through pruning wounds.
“Melissa trained my 3 fruit trees, back to the espalier structure as originally intended and this summer we had an abundance of fruit.
“In late winter, I contacted Melissa Morton Garden Design for advice on pruning and training my 3 fruit trees. The trees had been planted a number of years previously with a view to training as espaliers. However, despite my initial enthusiasm, the trees had been neglected over the years and were overgrown and shapeless.
“Melissa was clearly very knowledgeable and her approach was both practical and helpful. Melissa advised what needed to be done at that point and how they should be managed in the long term. The work was carried out a short time after the initial visit and I was really pleased with the result.
“I will continue to use Melissa Morton Garden Design in the future, the service was excellent and worth every penny.”
Mrs E Smith, Ilkley.