Prune your own apple trees….it’s not as hard as you think!
Do you have apple trees? Then they need to be pruned annually. Hiring someone to do this task just doesn’t make sense, when you can do it yourself. My husband Rod does all our pruning and prunes for several others every spring too. It’s time to learn how to prune apple trees.
Full Disclosure: Rod is not an arborist and does not have any formal training when it comes to pruning. He just has years of experience and results that work….that means, the apple trees survive and thrive!
The apple trees are loaded year after year! These are his tips and what works for him! Rod’s famous words of wisdom… Don’t worry too much about how it turns out…If you don’t do it perfect, it’s okay. It’s like a bad haircut…It will grow back! Just take it slow and step back to see how it’s coming along! My advice…as a total novice…just don’t take off too much! (I don’t like bad haircuts)
These trees are very mature apple trees. The “bones” of the tree are already there. New trees still require pruning, but the process is just a bit different because you are forming the shape each year. Pruning on new trees is minimal. These tips are focusing on the mature tree.
Three things to keep in mind while pruning
- Keep branches growing out, not up. Cut off all vertical shoots.
- Cut off any damaged branches.
- Try not to let tree get too wide. Stand back and look at the branches. If they are extending out too far, give them a trim.
- Anticipate spacing for fruit and branches. Take a look at each cluster. If the cluster is too tight, remove one of the small branches.
Remove all shoots that are growing straight up.
Remove any damaged branches. This branch was snapped during the late fall when a moose got into the orchard.
Rod removes branches that get too crowded or too wide. The picture below show a branch where the apples will be growing. It can have up to 3 or 4 apples. This branch has enough space for the apples….no need to prune here.
While Rod works, the rest of us have fun…I mean are working hard too! Taylor went for a ride, cause Sugar needed some exercise!
It’s okay to use a ladder! Most pruners do. Rod prunes about half the tree from up in the tree and then finally has to use the ladder to reach the rest!
One apple tree finished….several more to go. Guess who is on branch clean up duty?
Yeah….I climbed up the tree to snap several of these pics! Pretty brave of me, huh? Good luck pruning your apple trees….using a ladder is much easier than shimming up the trees!
You might also find How to Prune Raspberries helpful.