The purpose of formative tree pruning is to assist and train a young tree to develop into a stronger and well- shaped tree.
While many trees will naturally form their adult shape as they grow, others need a little assistance to create a clear trunk and a well-spaced canopy of branches.
Formative tree pruning and trimming with selective branch removal can greatly improve the structure and health of the tree as it ensures strong branch attachments and a balanced crown formation.
Formative pruning is essential for fruit bearing trees as a balanced shape with strong branches is better able to support heavy crops. The amount of tree pruning will vary according to the variety and rootstock of the fruit tree but, generally, some level of formative pruning should be applied to all fruit trees from one year old and continued for four to five years.
It is usually best pruning deciduous trees during winter, as it is easier to see the branch structure. Tree trimming of evergreens is often carried out in April, as their spring regrowth begins. However, there are exceptions to these rules and a professional tree surgeon will be able to advise on the most suitable season and both the amount and method of tree pruning for your species.