The type of pruning technique depends on whether the tree fruits on spurs or towards the tips of shoots made the previous summer.
No matter whether your tree is a spur- or tip-bearer, the first stage of winter pruning is the same for both:
Then continue for a spur- or tip-bearer.
If you inherit an overgrown apple or pear tree it may be possible to bring it back into productive cropping by following the advice on our profile on renovation programmes.
Young tree in early autumn before winter pruning
Cut back young laterals to five or six buds
Prune out badly placed or competing laterals
After pruning the tree should have an open centre with about five main branches
The diagram shows winter pruning on a mature spur bearing apple tree
The sketch shows winter pruning on a mature tip bearing apple tree