Fruit trees need pruning every year, typically during the dormant stage. If you don’t start accurately pruning early, you end up with alternate bearing. Alternate bearing is when one year’s harvest is plentiful, and the following year is nothing. Follow these tips to know when to prune apple trees so you can reap a generous harvest every year.
The Ideal Time When to Prune Apple Trees
If necessary, Apple trees must prune in late winter, though you could prune in the summer or spring. Never prune in autumn. You don’t want to inspire new growth at the same time your tree prepares for winter.
Don’t prune around September since this stimulates new growth while the tree should be getting ready for winter. The new growth might not have the opportunity to harden off before frost, and cold temps hit, creating severe damage.
It’s vital to have the right tools for the job. Have the following tools ready for when you prune:
Hand pruners – Use this tool to get rid of small twigs. You’ll most likely use this one the most.
Loppers – Loppers come with long handles and provide extra leverage when larger branches. They’re usually used to prune branches more massive than the width of your thumb, or about 1″ diameter or more.
The critical rule of pruning is to get rid of any diseased or dead limbs. Try not to slice into the collar when pruning branches. Instead, make the slice just over the point where the branch collar flares.
In the first few years after planting, let the tree establish itself and grow roots before performing any pruning. It’s good to prune away damaged limbs right after planting the tree.
First, remove any dead or diseased branches. Next, look at branches that are coming from the tree’s trunk. Please get rid of them. The perfect apple tree has just one central leading branch enclosed by evenly spaced scaffolding branches with lots of fruiting spurs.
Contact Orchard Park Tree Service for more information on pruning fruit trees. Our arborists can correctly inspect your tree and only prune the branches that need it.