Gardens

How to Prune Apple Trees

Pruning apple trees is an essential part of apple tree care. Learn how to prune apple trees with these handy expert tips.

By Yankee Magazine

Mar 05 2020

how-to-prune-apple-trees

How to Prune Apple Trees

Photo Credit : Pixabay
Apple trees are a popular fruit tree for the average homeowner, and pruning apple trees is one of the easiest ways to keep your apple tree looking its best. Here’s an overview of how to prune apple trees from writer and apple grower, Michael Phillips. For more info and tips, check out Michael’s 2014 Yankee feature “How to Prune an Apple Tree | Expert Advice.”
How to Prune Apple Trees
How to Prune Apple Trees
Photo Credit : Pixabay

How to Prune Apple Trees

When to Prune Apple Trees

Apple trees can be pruned anytime after the leaves have fallen, but it’s best to wait until the extreme cold days of winter have passed but before any new growth has started. Sub-zero temperatures can cause the cuts not to close correctly, which can lead to black rot.

Don’t Cut Everything

New pruners sometimes cut off every shoot, which is unnecessary, since the tree will only produce more. By leaving some to grow for a year or two, the tree can focus more on growing fruit.
How to Prune Apple Trees
How to Prune Apple Trees
Photo Credit : Pixabay

Make Sure Your Cuts Have Enough Lights

New buds need sunshine. Make sure any new growth will be able to see more than 30 percent of the day’s sunshine – the minimal amount needed to produce fruit. The exception is pruning an overgrown tree, when you should never remove more than a quarter to a third of the canopy in a single year.

Don’t Be Afraid to Remove Bigger Limbs

Sometimes, in order to add light, large branches have to go. Don’t be afraid to remove bigger limbs to encourage a better shape for your tree. Usually, you’re glad you did it. If not, well, you’ll have a couple of years to recover. Have any tips for how to prune apple trees? Let us know! This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated. 

SEE MORE: Apple Tips | How to Pick, Store, and Prolong the Life of New England’s Favorite Fall FruitBest Apple Orchards in New England10 Best Apples for Apple PieBest Apple Recipes | 10 Fall Fruit Favorites