Stimulates growth and a better harvest: when to prune an apple tree
Apple trees are usually considered to be unpretentious trees, so they often overlook the need for autumn maintenance. Pruning apple trees is an important part of maintaining their health and fertility.
Proper pruning helps to shape the crown, remove dead or diseased wood, improve air circulation, and stimulate new growth. The Express publication told us how and when to prune an apple tree to get a generous harvest next year.
When to prune apple trees
The best time to prune apple trees is in late fall or early spring, while the tree is still dormant. Pruning before this time promotes faster healing and reduces the risk of disease.
How to prune apple trees
Step 1. Tools
Use sharp, clean pruning tools such as bypass pruners and scissors. Disinfect the tools with alcohol to prevent the spread of disease in the cut areas.
Step 2. Remove dead branches
Start by removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Cut down to the healthy wood just outside the branch (the swollen area where the branch meets the trunk).
Step 3. Shoots
Remove the shoots that grow from the rootstock below the grafting junction. Strong vertical shoots growing from the main branches or trunk should also be thinned out.
Step 4: Air circulation and sunlight
The apple tree benefits from good air circulation and sunlight. Thin out crowded branches to improve light access. Remove any intersecting branches as they can rub against each other and cause wounds.
Step 5. Shorten the branches
To control the height of the tree, you can shorten the branches. These cuts should be made just above an outward-facing bud or branch, which promotes lateral growth.
Step 6. Side branches
Encourage lateral branches (those that grow horizontally) rather than vertical branches. Prune to an outward-facing bud to create an open and spreading canopy.
If your apple tree is already rooted and you want to encourage fruiting, cut the side branches just above the bud with an angled, oblique cut. This promotes fruit development.
Step 7. The final formation
Step back and evaluate the overall shape of the tree. Make any additional cuts to maintain the desired shape. Apple trees are often pruned so that they have an open center or vase shape, so that sunlight can penetrate.
Seal larger cuts. If you are making larger cuts on the main trunk or branches, consider sealing them with a pruning agent to prevent disease from entering.
Step 8. Clean up
Collect and dispose of the pruned branches and debris. This helps prevent the spread of diseases and pests in the vicinity of the tree.
Remember that pruning methods should be adjusted depending on the apple tree variety. For apple trees, regular annual pruning is usually sufficient, but older, neglected trees may require more extensive renewal pruning.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA told how to feed an apple tree to get large and juicy fruits.