Is it time to summer prune?

Last year I summer pruned for height control around August 15th in 6b. I think that was a little late as some trees did not seem to adequately harden off before winter.

I’m wondering if now is the right time?

Also, if someone shares scions, should you mark certain limbs to refrain from cutting them, or not cut at all?

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Some trees? What trees, what symptoms? I lay off of stone fruit by late August- say the 20th but prune apples and pears well into Sept. I’ve known commercial growers that use the same crew for pruning as far harvesting and prune in the fall for the year- bearing apple trees, they may not prune whips at that time, I don’t know. .

It all depends on what your goals are. I’ve been pruning lots since spring and can’t believe how much peach pruning I’m doing in my nursery and orchard- it’s endless this season and in the nursery, I’m only pruning for shape. For my orchard, I’m pruning everything with fruit to keep light where I want it and to allow more evaporation in the tree- too much rain in the last 3 weeks or so. The dew is as heavy as light rain to boot.

Winter injury from pruning is most likely to happen on very young trees. That has only happened to me with late winter pruning of peach trees- I once killed a couple of peach trees in an orchard I pruned in early March when temps dropped into single digits a couple days later- it was a surprise dip.


I have about 30 apple trees and I pruned every single one for height or growth control last summer. I was also following Orin Martins (sp?) advice on shortening laterals to promote bud formation and stiffen growth. I know that many of the apples I pruned in mid to late August bloomed in September.

A few had some die back like Golden Delicious. I don’t remember specifically which other ones showed signs of distress. If it’s not a concern, I won’t worry about the timing.

He was pruning in mid August but he’s in southern California.

Yes it was on my younger or smaller trees, not the 8-10 year old ones.

Added note: about 2 minutes after this post I get a hit on Google news about pruning apples. Ok so I post or search about it all the time but it’s no coincidence. I’m tired of these targeted ads. It’s like big brother/Alexa is watching/listening to me 24/7.

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I did this last summer and my little novamac tree espellar… which was in year 1 at the time… had 20 fruitbuds develop and bloom, fruit this spring.

I also did it for my 4 year old akane hudson golden gem and gold rush…

Gold rush has fruit on now… but A and HGG did not bloom again this spring… 4 years old and no blossoms yet.

I have been wondering the same thing… is the time right for summer pruning apples ?

In his first vid on that (above) he tells what to look for to know the time is right.

We have had some good rains in July this year… got a nice one yesterday… so my apples are still putting on new growth.

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I believe with apples you want to wait until it sets the terminal buds for the year, then prune, and fruiting spurs will likely develop. My Pink Lady had help from deer in August or September and ended up with lots of fruit buds. I’ve seen people say pears are supposed to do the same, but with a couple variations in how they react based on the cultivar.

I’m curious about stone fruit. I’m growing several in an open center/V. They’ve grown scaffolds about 5’ long and put out small laterals at the ends.

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I’d imagine the answer is highly dependant on your climate. My average first freeze date is mid to late November. A few years ago I went to the end of December before a freeze. Last year I had one in October.

Now I only have a handful of relatively young trees so I am learning the timing for hardening off new growth spurred by summer pruning.

My aprium is putting on decent new growth from my earlier summer pruning and compared to last year’s growth it’s so light in color and tender it looks like a whole different tree.

I don’t know if hardening off doesn’t occur until terminal buds are formed (i.e. branch stops growing) or if it hardens off from the first growth part of a sprout then extends to the last growth on that new branch.


I’ve never summer pruned an apple. My issue with them is too much fruit set so maybe I should be pruning off flower buds. But on my apples there isn’t much to prune off without taking off fruit.

In my greenhouse I’m pruning stone fruit from April until September, mostly for height control.

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My Redhaven always seems to ripen when weather is wet and cloudy. Fruit quality is poor. I’ll do some summer pruning now and heavy winter pruning. Might as well make it a small tree with minimal shading. Never seem to have luck grafting onto that tree.

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I prefer to perform any necessary summer pruning after harvest of the specific cultivar. This is usually for height control and errant branches. For deciduous trees I prefer to leave training of scaffolds and other structures for the dormant period.


And ‘big bro’ probably is …as you suggest.

I got me a t-shirt that reads…“NSA … listening to all my conspiracy theories when nobody else will!”

I don’t do a lot of planned summer pruning…but do snip stray and errant limbs etc from time to time.


That’s one of the videos I watched.

If I wait that long, the tree will be blooming in November. I thought I should prune now and then new branch ends will begin to harden before winter. I may have misunderstood.

Added note: @evilpaul ,after consideration, I think I may have tried waiting for that as you suggest but then I went into winter with young fresh growth on most trees and that worried me.

I watched it last night again and there is a second vid to go with it. It shows the fruit buds that developed… some of them developed and bloomed that fall.

My novamac did not do that last fall… i had a few spurs that developed last fall but they did not bloom last fall … but this spring it was loaded with blossom clusters. 20 or so.

The few spurs that developed last fall bloomed… and several other buds developed this spring and bloomed.

It is loaded with fruit spurs now.


I definitely had fruit bud response. Several trees bloomed that have never bloomed before, and I have significantly more fruit than I have had. I had about 10 percent bloom in September after August pruning.

I left a few branches unpruned that I wanted to collect scions. I accidentally pruned one off the year before so I tied marking tape to the point where I would most likely cut so I would be sure and see it. Funny the year of the errant cut I recognized the desired branch clearly from the front but when I walked around the tree from the other side I clipped it off before I realized what I was doing. I tried to find it in the yard full of prunings by comparing color of the branch and shape of the cut. Needle in a haystack as they say.

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I don’t think I’d expect the same results every year. (The 10% blooming after summer trimming.O

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Checked my novamac on b9 today and found some limb tips that are still growing, putting out new growth and leaves… but then others that have… what i think are terminal buds forming (pic above).

It has a mix… around 70% terminal buds… 30 % still producing new growth.

First of all… is that pic an example of terminal bud ?

If so… it should be ok to summer prune the ones that those have formed on… right ?

Ps most of the ones that are still putting out new growth… i plan to harvest this winter for scion.


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Looks like it to me. I just finished summer pruning just for height. Haven’t pruned those laterals back like I did last year. It worked great but it’s been so dang hot I can’t be out long.

@Rosdonald … we must have the same heat…

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Deer have done more summer pruning than I’d like.

Mamas and babies in mid afternoon…somebody needs to scare these brave 4 legged marauders. (Or put them in the freezer).

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Thinking about doing some summer pruning on my apples too, based on same video.

I have 2nd/3rd leafs all on m111. Most new growth is between 2 to 3 ft. I’m planning to prune the most upright vigorous laterals in hopes it will convert them into useful fruiting laterals.