Learn about pruning with expert advice from the RHS

Shrub pruning

Pruning late-summer and autumn flowering shrubs in spring will keep their growth in check and improve flowering.

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  • Acacia boormanii

    Acacia: pruning

    Acacias are attractive trees and shrubs grown for their sweetly-scented, tiny yellow flowers. Commonly known as mimosa or wattle, mature plants need minimal pruning, but young plants need more care to establish an attractive shape.

  • © RHS / Andrew Halstead (SCN0002362)

    Apple tree problems: frequently asked questions

    Apples are easy to grow, productive, and there are cultivars, shapes and sizes for every garden. They can be susceptible to a range of pests (such as the woolly aphid pictured below), diseases and disorders, but in most cases action can be taken to prevent or control the problem. Susceptibility to the problems differs between cultivars – you would be very unlucky to have a tree that suffers from all of the problems listed below!

    Here we give answers to many of the common problems encountered. They are grouped by the area of the tree affected: shoots; leaves and flowers.

  • Pear multiple cordon

    Apples and pears: growing and training as cordons

    Cordons allow you to grow a useful amount of fruit in even a small garden. Cordon training is suitable for all apples and pears that bear fruit on short sideshoots (spur-bearing).

  • Apple fruit buds

    Apples and pears: identifying fruit buds

    Knowing the cropping habit of your apple and pear trees and identifying which buds produce leaves and buds will enable you to tailor your pruning for optimum harvest. It also allows you to decide if the cultivar is suitable for the training form that you have in mind.

  • Apple tree in garden

    Apples and pears: pruning made easy

    Pruning an apple or pear tree can be daunting for many gardeners. Rather than be put off completely or panic and inadvertently harm the tree back by excessive pruning, instead try our easy guide and enjoy a well-shaped, productive tree.

  • Winter pruning of a young apple tree

    Apples and pears: pruning new trees

    Young apple and pear trees need good formative pruning to establish productive trees with a balanced branch system. Pruning is not difficult and taking the time to get it right in the early years should lead to fewer problems later on.

  • Apple trees with areas of congested new growth need to be renovated. Image: Tim Sandall/RHS

    Apples and pears: renovating old trees

    Old, overgrown apples and pear trees can still be attractive and productive features in the garden if brought under control with pruning. Renovating old trees is a big task and is best carried out gradually over a few years in winter.

  • Apple summer pruning

    Apples and pears: summer pruning

    Summer pruning apples and pears allows sunlight to ripen the fruit and ensures good cropping the following year. This is the main method of pruning for restricted forms such as cordons, espaliers, fans and pyramids.

  • Apple winter pruning

    Apples and pears: winter pruning

    Apple and pear trees trained as free-standing bushes are best pruned every winter to ensure a good cycle of fruiting wood. Trees that are not pruned become less productive and congested with old branches. The aim is to create an open goblet shape with a framework of four to five main branches.

  • Pruning out an apple branch

    Apples and pears: winter regulated pruning

    Traditional winter pruning of apples and pears can result in the tree getting a little bigger each year. To prevent this happening and avoid the need for occasional renovation consider winter regulated pruning.

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