It seems complicated, and many gardeners are apprehensive about tackling the task. Take heart—it is almost impossible to kill a tree by pruning it, and most of the intimidating pruning takes place in the first three years of an apple tree's life. After then, the hard part is over.
Cut out dead branches and limbs anytime. Cut back cleanly to living wood, but avoid cutting into it. In winter prune the entire tree following the directions in this pamphlet or using a good book on fruit tree pruning.
Apple trees are great because they are so versatile. They offer several varieties, shapes and sizes allowing us to use them in just about any garden situation, even if we only have only a small patio area. They are very tolerant of different pruning methods, and even do well being espaliered along a wall or fence.
I get asked a lot about how to prune older trees, particularly from gardeners who have moved to a new house and have inherited unruly and unproductive specimens. The other common issue is dealing with a older tree that has been pruned too hard either by a previous owner or by the gardener themselves. I hope this article will help avoid pruning problems while also giving some assistance in correcting mistakes that have already been made. Old and unproductive trees in a commercial orchard would normally be removed a well pruned new tree will produce far more fruit in the long run but in the garden there are often other things to consider.
Within a few years of lovingly planting fruit trees, most folks find themselves with scraggly overgrown bushes, rather than the Garden of Eden they had envisioned. The key to keeping fruit trees attractive and productive is annual pruning. Worry not, pruning is not the brain surgery it has been made out to be.
Are you wondering when to prune fruit trees? Well, the answer to that question depends on your goals. Do you want to reduce the size of a vigorous tree?
Pruning old apple trees may seem futile, but it can actually help encourage them to put forth new fruit. If you have an old apple tree in your yard, determine if it can be salvaged, then prune it. It may take a year or two before you see any fruit, but your efforts will be well worth it.
Apple trees Malus spp. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. A tree that has been growing in your yard for several years may have become overgrown.
Neglected apple trees should be pruned gradually to achieve the desired height. Annual apple tree Malus spp. After 20 years of neglect, apple trees grow unmanageably tall, with upper branches that shade out the lower canopy. This results in a dense network of non-fruiting branches at arm's reach, with moderate, but inaccessible fruiting in the top of the tree.