Saturday, January 12, 2013

How To Prune Apple Trees

Since my most recent post was about the new apple trees we're going to establish in the orchard I just know I'm going to get asked a ton of questions about pruning trees and this is a good time of year to be outside giving our trees a haircut.

Tools Needed: 
clean and sharp pruners, clippers or other suitable tool.
ladder if the tree is tall  
saw for older broken limbs (remove large branches in small pieces)

Pruning is actually very simple. The goal of pruning in young trees is to create an open and airy centre and branches that are well balanced ie. not all the branches are on one side making the tree unstable. This is accomplished by removing a third of each new branch every year just above an outward facing bud. This is important because you want the future branches to grow out away from the trunk. Does this sound confusing? I'll attach a link to a good website with pictures showing you what I'm talking about.

Once a tree is 5 or 6 years old it's just a matter of maintaining the health of the tree by removing broken or diseased limbs as needed. But management of your trees will vary a little depending on variety and location. As I learn more I'll add more information and I welcome any ideas you all have. Because our trees will be taller than most, we will be starting our first branches a little higher up the trunk than many other dwarf trees. This will allow for better air circulation at ground level and will make room for grazing sheep to munch away below the mature trees.

We have old apple trees on our property and we're in the process of clearing out the evergreens and shrubs that have taken over before we go in to trim the trees. We'll concentrate on removing dead wood and then seeing if the trees will respond to some love and care. I'm hopeful they will, there's something special and mysterious about a venerable old apple tree.  

1 comment:

  1. Great guide! Thank you for the resources! Pruning apple trees isn't my specialty!

    -Evergreen Tree & Shrub Inc.