We have a 50 year old apple tree and two 5 year old espaliered pear/ nashi trees on our property.

The beginning of summer has been alternating between sunny with rainy days so everything in our garden is growing vigorously.

The pip fruit trees have all put up "runners" - large amounts of long thin branches coming off existing branches at right angles.

Is it okay to prune these runners back at this time of the year?

I'm in Nelson, New Zealand so we're currently at the beginning of summer. Historical weather data is below: enter image description here

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    When do the plants usually flower in your area? If they've flowered then I would say its ok to prune. If they have yet to flower then I would wait. Another good time to prune would be very early spring/late winter before they break dormancy. If you can wait until then that might be best.
    – BRM
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 22:51
  • Everything is flowering at the moment - lavender, wild flowers, native plants. I did prune in late winter but there has been an explosion of Spring growth over the past few months. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


Summer pruning of fruit trees is an established practice for those who want to exercise more control over the shape of their fruit trees. Pruning in the summer helps to control rampant growth on some trees, and also directs branches to where you want them to grow. Some trees, such as apricot and cherry, are often pruned only in the summer, to take advantage of the drier, warmer weather and prevent rain from introducing disease to the newly pruned limbs. Espaliered trees of all kinds are also generally pruned in the summer to control their growth and shape. So the answer to your question is yes - summer is a great time to prune excessive growth from your fruit trees.

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