Have you inherited an old fruit tree or had one for years and been too nervous to prune it yourself? Trying to prune a fruit tree can be a daunting task for many gardeners, so use our top tips for a healthy and productive tree

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Knowing how to prune a fruit tree is useful, although many gardeners find the task too daunting to take on themselves. However it is not as complicated or difficult as it seems and with a sharp pair of secateurs, a good pruning saw and strong ladder, you can have a healthy and productive tree again in no time.

If your fruit tree has a rotten or diseased trunk, unfortunately no amount of pruning will make it come good. Take our advice on how to plant a fruit tree so you have a harvest fit for jams, crumbles and pies again. And if you are struggling to use up a bountiful fruit harvest, The Field has plenty of recipe inspiration. Try our fruit and almond tart recipe with whatever fruit you have to hand, or learn how to make cider and juices at home.

HOW TO PRUNE A FRUIT TREE

I have fruit trees in need of care, some are old, some overcrowded. I am keen to tackle this myself without killing them. Any advice would be marvellous.
RWW, Gloucestershire

Renovation of fruit trees should be carried out in spring or summer on stone fruits and in winter on apple and pear trees. Any trees too old to fruit well and with rotten or diseased trunks and branches should be grubbed out and burned. If a tree is sound but overcrowded it can be revived with pruning and routine care. Remove branches that are dead, damaged, diseased or so low that they trail on the ground when covered in fruit. Also remove crowded or crossing branches as these shade the growing fruit. If branches rub together, remove these as well as they may be prone to canker. Once this initial pruning is over you can continue spur thinning, mulching and checking and renewing any stakes and ties if required.