Pruning Apple Trees
Commercial growers prune their apple orchard during the winter months. Farmers
have more time on their hands in the winter, and the absence of leaves makes
pruning an apple tree and other fruit trees easier. You can however, prune
apple trees in the spring, before the flowers bloom. Pruning apples trees
is essential to the health of the tree, to maximize the size of the apples,
and to make picking easier. Too many apples on the tree results in plentiful,
but smaller fruit.
For home gardeners, it is best to prune and trim apple trees, anytime after
harvest, and into the fall to late winter. You can prune them any time before
blooming. After blooming begins, you risk knocking apples off the tree, reducing
Prune off suckers and small branches, especially those that grow straight
up from major branches. It is best to trim the tree so that major branches
arch up away from the trunk. These branches will eventually droop downward.
Top off the center (trunk) of the tree , to limit the overall height of the
tree. Also, remove some branches where the tree has grown too thick You want
to leave plenty of room for the apples to grow, allow air circulation, and
light to penetrate to the leaves. It also allows for more effective spraying
of insecticides and fungicides.
Pruning is an annual event. Schedule it for early in the season, before your
gardening chores get into full gear. Or, pick a sunny winter day and go out
and do some gardening!
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