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Fan-trained fruit trees need summer pruning to ensure the shape is maintained and there is plenty of fruiting wood. Annual pruning varies according to the fruit type and there are details below to help with these.
Fan-trained almonds, apples, cherries, figs, gooseberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, pears, plums and redcurrants need to be pruned annually.
Fans are commonly used for stone fruits (eg. cherries and peaches), as they are not suited to being trained as espaliers or other restricted forms.
Prune fans in spring and summer on a dry day (when the risk of fungal infection is low). Removing leafy growth helps to restrict the vigour of trained fruit forms.
When it is necessary to remove a large limb within a fan, do this when apples pears, redcurrants and gooseberries are dormant in winter or in April for stone fruit, reducing the risk of fungal diseases to which they are prone.
For more detailed pruning instructions, read:
RHS Pruning and Training (Revised New Edition) by Christopher Brickell and David Joyce (Dorling Kindersley 2017, ISBN 9780241282908)
RHS Fruit by Harry Baker (Mitchell Beazley 1995, ISBN 9781857329056)
The Fruit Garden Displayed by Harry Baker (RHS 1991, ISBN 9780304340163)
These books are also available through the Lindley Library.
Neglected fans are often top heavy with little young wood below. To redress the balance renovation pruning needs to be staggered over several years.
In spring or early summer, shorten back a third of the uppermost shoots to a replacement shoot within the main framework. Also remove a few of the older shoots lower down, ideally to a young shoot further back that can be tied in to fill the gap. Any shoots growing vertically in the centre of the fan are best removed entirely, but avoid making cuts into the two main arms.
Cherries: acidCherries: sweetFan-trained trees: initial trainingFigsPlums, gages and damsons: choosing cultivars
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In this fully revised edition, you’ll find updated advice by the RHS experts on what, when and how to prune.
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