Fruit Forum

Pruning Your Apple Trees - the essentials

Photo - see caption

Jim Arbury, the fruit specialist at the Royal Horticultural Society's Gardens, Wisley Surrey, reviews The Apple Pruning Manual by Roger Worraker and Malcolm Withnall.

I enjoyed reading The Apple Pruning Manual. It is refreshing to read an account of pruning by authors who know the subject so well. Much of the information is seldom published in book form. Most of the book concerns the pruning of current commercial systems. The difference in cropping habit and pruning of different commercially grown cultivars is explained well. The history of commercial tree forms is covered and the latest choice explained. There is also a section on amateur fruit growing and a section on pear pruning. The authors comment on amateur growing is timely with the current increase in interest in growing fruit. I believe that the choice of open centred bush trees by amateur growers (a choice criticised by the authors) is often for sentimental and nostalgic reasons rather than for fruit production. After reading this book amateur growers would be in a better position to make an informed decision and might then choose a more easily managed and productive tree form. Choice of productive cultivars for the amateur was also covered. This I believe is more difficult as many commercial cultivars and related cultivars may be too disease susceptible for amateur growing.

I can recommend this book to commercial fruit growers, advisors and professional gardeners (many of whom manage trees in public and private gardens).It would also be of interest to keen amateur gardeners who would like to improve their standard of pruning and as a result achieve better crops of better fruit which is ultimately what we all want.

Jim Arbury


The Apple Pruning Manual by Roger Worraker and Malcolm Withnal, pp.117, many colour photographs and diagrams, £10.00 plus £2.00 p&p, published by Malcolm Withnal, 2013; total cost is £12.00.

Copies of the book can be obtained from Malcolm Withnall, Woodcut Cottage, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Kent ME17 1XH; e-mail: