How to prune wall-trained fruit trees with Sylvia Travers

Ref: S1D31321

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About this course

Learn how and why we prune wall-trained fruit trees, the different tree forms and shapes and which situation suits each best. Pome fruit and stone fruit will be discussed on this day which includes demonstrations in the West Dean Garden orchard and kitchen garden.

Course Description

This day is intended as a pragmatic session in pruning and training fruit. Sylvia will cover pome fruit (apples/pears) and stone fruit (plums/cherries/peaches). The day will begin with a session on the principles of why we prune walled-trained fruit trees the way we do and discussion about different tree forms and shapes, and which situation suits each best. Other aspects covered include how to and when to tie down branches, pruning for flowering or leaf growth and the seasonality of pruning, variety selection and rootstocks.

The session will be partly based outside where some of the principles discussed in the morning will be put into practice. Sylvia will go through the process of summer pruning, using some of the trees in the West Dean kitchen garden, where she will visually assess a tree and discuss how to approach pruning through demonstration. Questions are welcome throughout the day.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Camera, may be useful
  • Clothing suitable for outdoors, including wet weather, as some time will be spent in the walled garden

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebooks and pencils

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Sylvia Travers - horticulture tutor at West Dean College

Sylvia Travers

Sylvia has worked in horticulture for nearly 20 years, having studied at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin and at Reading University. She also took a detour to Denmark to complete a PhD in plant science. Sylvia has specialised in fruit and vegetable horticulture throughout and ran the productive gardens at The Lost Gardens of Heligan before setting up and running kitchen gardens for Michelin starred restaurants. She previously worked for the RHS overseeing the construction and planting of the Paradise and Kitchen gardens at Bridgewater near Manchester. These days she consults on all aspects of walled kitchen garden restoration and management. 

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