Two days ago I was doing some summer pruning at the Stewart Heritage Orchard where I am a volunteer focused on orchard management. Summer pruning of apples to manage the growth of the trees and produce more fruiting spurs is usually done in mid to late July, so this is an ideal time for this type of work.
The variety of this tree is Ahmead’s Kernal, an old variety identified in 1720 in England. All apple trees need to be pruned and trained in a way that will maintain a balance between the production of vegetative and fruiting branches. Since espalier training restricts the trees to two dimensions and a small space, maintaining this balance is even more important. This particular espalier was heavily pruned last winter resulting in a large number of vegetative shoots. To rebalance this vertical shoots more than 10″ in length were cut to about 5 leaves not counting the basal whorl of leaves. This will reduce the vigor the heavy winter pruning created, a first step toward restoring the vegetative/fruiting balance.