Pruning and preparing for the next generation

After a sunny day spring seems around the corner, the cobnuts and filbert catkins are out and even a few bees are flying

Catkins on the cobnuts and filberts at RHS Garden WisleyIn contrast to the hazels, the buds on the pears are not yet moving - but may be soon if it stays warm. We are pressing on with the pruning of apples and so far we have pruned about ¾ of the orchard.

If you have not pruned your apples and pears yet, there is still time as they can be pruned up to bud break which is a few weeks away.

Hopefully our pruning will be complete in the next two or three weeks. This week we have been working with gardeners from the National Trust's Morden Hall, who were here to gain some pruning experience.

Pruning apple trees in the orchard at RHS Garden WisleyAs the soil warms up it will be time to complete planting of replacement trees. I like to plant into improving conditions so that the trees grow away well. There is no advantage in planting if the ground is cold, wet or frozen: we have to be patient.

In the next few weeks I’ll be grafting new and replacement trees for the orchard, including some as-yet unidentified apples and pears from the north west of England. We also carry out grafting instruction for trainees at RHS Garden Wisley and I will be leading two adult learning courses at Rosemoor on the 19 March. I enjoy the warm sunny days, but as a fruit grower I would rather that the weather stayed fairly cool for the rest of February so that spring will not be too early.

Find out more about cultivating fruit

See events at RHS Garden Rosemoor and RHS Garden Wisley

Get RHS advice on grafting

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.