Knowing how to prune an apple tree correctly is a critical part of successful apple tree maintenance. Pruning apple trees not only improves the appearance of the tree, but can also increase fruit production, reduce disease and increase freshness of the fruits. In this blog, we will explore the basics of pruning apple trees, including the pruning method, pruning timeframe and the best tools to use.
Prune an Apple Tree Method
The main pruning method for apple trees involves removing dead, weak or diseased branches. This method should be used as soon as the apple tree is planted. Aim to select branches which are crossing, weak or simply unneeded for aesthetic reasons. Additionally, pruning can be done later in the season, when you are selecting which branches are bearing fruit or are unnecessary.
Lastly, pruning can also be used when shaping the overall form of the tree, removing larger branches or pieces that may form complicated tangles with other branches. To shape the overall form of the tree, aim to find the central leader of the tree and decide which branches you would like to remove.
Prune an Apple Tree Timeframe
The ideal timeframe for pruning apple trees is either late winter or early spring, just before the blossoms begin to open. Pruning at this time of the year will reduce the chance of removing any fruit buds, increasing the number of apples that you can harvest during the season.
Additionally, pruning apple trees in the summer is possible, but should be done with caution. During the summer, some fruit buds may still be present and removing them can significantly reduce the yield. It is best to use light pruning in the summer or plan to heavily prune the apple tree in the fall.
Tools for Pruning an Apple Tree
When pruning apple trees there are a few simple tools that should always be used. Anvil pruners are perfect for removing small branches up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. For larger branches, lopping shears are ideal and ladders should be used when pruning branches higher than ten feet tall.
Finally, it is a good idea to have a pole pruner handy at all times. This tool can be used to remove larger branches from the top of the tree without the need for a ladder. Additionally, pole pruners can also be used for additional shaping and sculpting at the top of the tree.
When pruning an apple tree it is important to consider the method, timeframe and the tools that you will use. Generally, pruning should involve removing dead, weak or diseased branches, preferably in late winter or early spring. Additionally, when selecting tools, it is best to uses anvil pruners for small branches and lopping shears for larger branches. Last but not least, a pole pruner should be used when removing larger branches from the top of the tree, without the need for a ladder.
Youtube Pruning Tutorials
If you need additional help when pruning apple trees, there are a variety of tutorials available on Youtube. The videos range from basic instruction to advanced techniques. It is a good idea to watch some of the tutorials before you begin pruning, as this will allow you to better determine which method, timeframe and tools you should use.
When pruning apple trees it is important to take care. This means wearing protective goggles and gloves, using the correct tools and following instructions carefully. Additionally, it is important to avoid removing too much at once, this can shock the tree, reducing the number of flowers that it blooms in the spring.
Re-Shaping After Pruning
Finally, after pruning the apple tree it is often necessary to reshape and restructure the form of the tree. This can be done by reshaping the branches, removing larger ones and selecting which to keep. This is a critical part of the pruning process, as it will determine the overall shape of the tree and how it will look in the future.