Espalier_Apple_TreesThis week In Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden we will be pruning our espalier apple trees. Summer is the ideal time to carry out this annual job and our apple trees have put on an enormous amount of growth this year. They are definitely ready for a haircut!

Side shoots from the main horizontal branches are pruned to around 3 inches long or 3 leaves up from the base. Any new growth on established sideshoots is pruned back to 1 inch long, or 1 leaf from the base.

Now that we have our new arch support in place, we will be looking for new sideshoots at the top of the stem to make further horizontal levels on the tree. These will be tied in to the wires and left to grow until they reach the end of the supports.

It is likely that more new growth will appear over the coming weeks, so we may do a further pruning in September to make sure the trees keep their shape and focus their energies on producing fruiting spurs next year.

Pruning the espaliers is one of my favourite jobs of the year as it neatens them up and reveals the fruit, which will enjoy being exposed to the sun.

This week we will be harvesting blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, spinach, kale, potatoes, courgettes, broccoli and salads.