I have recently planted this dwarf (M27 rootstock) apple tree. It said it was a 2 year old tree.

Could anyone give me a good reference or video, or just detailed instructions on how to prune it this winter in order to have a good fruiting season next year?

I am totally new to fruit growing, therefore I would benefit from a detailed explanation. Thank you!

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1 Answer 1


There are two shapes recommended by the RHS here for your tree. They sound much the same and should give an idea of the long term goal.

  • Pyramid or Spindelbush: These are small, neat cone-shaped trees, about 2-2.4m (6½-8ft) tall, with branches starting about 60cm (2ft) from the ground

This fall you should prune to these guidelines from here:

Dwarf apple trees are normally grown to a central leader system. ... If the tree has lots of side branches (feathers) cut the leader back to 8" (20 cm) above the top branch.

  • Remove any branches closer to the ground than 20" (50 cm). Aim to develop a framework of well spaced branches that are capable of bearing crops without breaking.
  • In subsequent years, switch from heading to thinning cuts.
  • Cut out entire shoots that are crowded or crossing into the centre of the tree.
  • Narrow angled crotches should be avoided as these are sources of weaknesses
  • As the tree starts to bear fruit, prune for convenience in picking, spraying, and to allow light to enter all parts of the tree.

As well you have also got various advice about staking. A quote from the same reference helped me understand what to do:

All apple trees on dwarf rootstock will require support. The trees are very small with thin wood. The fruit produced is of normal size. A full crop of apples on a small tree is a heavy weight to support. Branches can break off. The root system is shallow and trees may fall over. The most common form of support is to pound a 2 inch diameter post (5cm) into the ground beside the tree. The trunk and branches are tied to this support post.

So you need at least three stakes as indicated in my other answer but the stakes also act to support the fruit laden branches which you would not do in a normal tree.

Also please review the answer to your related question here as I have added some more information.

This video may assist if you are a visual person but keep in mind it is for the North American climate and some details may differ.

  • Until this tree starts providing fruit and having to bear the weight it would behove one to NOT STAKE. This tree would then be able to increase its own support system by thickening its trunk and putting down SUPPORT roots! Staking a tree inhibits MOVEMENT necessary as the motivator for the tree to provide its OWN support. Staking young trees is the dumbest thing us humans can do for trees. I just really don't understand why we do this, necessary only for bareroot trees or large trees that have been compromised. I've watched non-staked trees grow against their staked siblings...
    – stormy
    Sep 28, 2015 at 20:28
  • The non-staked trees are larger, more vigorous than the staked trees...BY FAR. The trunks are practically twice the size of their staked...siblings. I've gone through parking lots and (shhhh) clipped the stakes. Those trees are still there and thriving. The ones I did not clip are either wimpy or blown over. Staking is JUST LIKE a cast on one's arm. Causes atrophy. Trees DON'T want to be blown over and can take care of this by themselves if given the chance.
    – stormy
    Sep 28, 2015 at 20:35
  • @stormy thank you for a good question. If you want to answer the question here gardening.stackexchange.com/q/21989/499 please quote references from universities, professional journals or government agencies.
    – kevinskio
    Sep 28, 2015 at 22:14

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