Time of pruning:For apple trees there are two pruning seasons summer and winter. Pruning in different seasons give different result especially when we prune first time it is very necessary for tree’s future growth. Dormant season when there are no leaves on the trees is the best time to prune. Don’t prune any trees before January or February because it will be harmful for the trees. To restrict growth; to remove water sprouts; and to remove diseased or damaged wood you have to prune in dormant season July and august. When the basic structure of trees is developed, you do not have to prune before fruiting occurs.
Summer pruning apple trees:
When the new growths are a few inches long the summer pruning should be started and should be restricted to eliminating all of the water shoots and simple thinning is the best way for pruning. The summer pruning should be done within in early August to end of August. To ensure a plentiful fruits for the tree and its prime purpose summer pruning should be kept a minimum. The branches then do as an energy producer for the apple tree. If you prune your apple tree in the month of April, it will generate a negative impact for the next year production and if you prune your apple tree in the month of August it produce the effect of bump the outgrowth and leaf buds with no causing them to shatter into increase.
Winter pruning apple trees:
In the winter, remove any kind of diseases or cross brunches to get high-quality apple and it will also be productive for the apple tree. In this stage, aim also to herald the centre of the tree and in winter don’t over prune the tree. You should also be careful about that while pruning the vertical branches bears less fruits than those of horizontal branches. If you prune frequently there will be excessive growth which will be harmful for the tree so don’t prune over 3 or 4 years. The mor you cut the branches the more they will grow.
Hand pruning equipments:
- Hand shear—scissors cut.
- Curved saw.
- Swivel-blade orchard pruning saw.
- Lopping shears.
Basically three types of tools are needed for pruning: a lopping shears for cuts up to one inch in diameter; a curved saw or swivel-blade orchard pruning saw for larger cuts and a hand shears for cuts up to one-half inch in diameter.
Types of pruning cuts:
In heading back, you have to short a branch or shoot. For an outward growing, older wood is headed back that support lateral growth and branching.
Entire shoots or branches are removed back to a lateral branch, scaffold branch, or the main trunk in tinning out. No lateral growth from that shoot or branch is possible as the entire shoot or branch is removed.
There is dual effect of pruning apple trees:
A. It is very useful to retain apple trees in a manageable size and shape.
B. It will increase fruits production if above are carried out.
For slow growth and daunt competition with the leader, directing branches encouraging lateral growth and triumphing over unequal growth of two scaffold branches you have to utilize heading back. You should use heading back in one- or two-year-old wood. If you want good lateral growth cuts in two-year-old wood is must but side by side it will produce little extension increase. For Red Delicious vigorous growth, cutting two-year-old wood is must. To remove objectionable growth such as upright branches those race with the head and branches, you have to make the most of thinning cuts.
What to prune apple trees:
At first you have to follow this list of situation when you want to prune anything including apple trees.
- Competing leaders
- Stubs or broken branches
- Narrow crotches
- Downward-growing branches
- Rubbing or criss-crossing branches
- Upward growing interior branches
Pruning apple trees at time of planting:
- Prune wronged origin tissue back for sound wood
- For fitting into the planting hole without bending, prune long roots back.
- Head back whips
- Standard trees to 44 inches.
- Semi-dwarf trees 36-40 inches.
- Dwarf trees 29 to 30 inches.
You have to follow some steps for pruning. I am mentioning these steps bellow.
First year pruning:
You have to prune one year plant immediately after planting and cut off the top half of the trunk with a sharp pair of secateurs. Before cutting you have to make sure that the plant has at least four buds and formed brunch otherwise cut above the fourth bud.
Second year pruning:
You should not prune previous year growth and it has to be pruned December to February. 6 to 10 inches apart vertically and broad angles (45 degree or more) scaffold branches should be retained. The lowest scaffold branch that will be 20 to 24 inches above ground, have them pointing to the south. At the time of pruning, cut above an outward bud so that this bud can produce a side shoot in the spring and this bud will grow from the center of the tree.
Third year pruning:
The best time of this pruning is December to February. This pruning is similar to second year pruning again prune above the top of laterals and laterals should never be longer than the leader. Save two or three scaffold branches which will have rebranched. As they grow first time so you should treat them as a young tree and don’t prune them. Always prune superficial facing buds.
Forth year pruning:
This is same as third year pruning. Prune the upward parts of the tree and you should become mindful that the lower proportion of the tree should not be outgrow the upper proportion and the upper proportion branches should not grow more and shade out the lower branches. The leader dormant should be kept and you should have six scaffold branches.
Five year pruning:
At the age of five the basic shape of a tree will have been established and it can be considered as adult. At this time you should remove all weak or diseases growth, keep the centre of the tree relatively clear of growth and keep the tree within the shape available.
Grown-up trees have already their shape firm, therefore it really important to maintain their form and size.
• Remove broken or diseased branches
• Crossing limbs
• Weak stems
• Innermost any branches growing to the trees center
• Any growing vertically or straight down
• When the trees are leafed out the new growth should be thin enough so that the fruit can ripe and color properly.
• Too long branches should be shorten out to avoid leggy growth.
If the tree provided a lot of fruits previous year, you can bony the spurs to only a few per branch. It will permit enough light and air to socialize around to shun diseases and minute, weak fruit.
Where an apple was planted many years ago, some people want to buy souse beside this area. Sometimes, the old owner didn’t take any proper care and didn’t prune the trees. The tree will produce unkempt and poor quality fruits. So, the first and foremost task will have to prune the trees properly. To eradicate all the upright, vigorous growing shoots at their base that are shading the interior will be the first step of pruning. You should remove limbs with unfortunate angles, and overload scaffold limbs at their base. The trees should not be fertilized in spring if severe pruning is done in winter.
Looking for Pruning Apple Trees Video?
Watch the following video and learn how to prune apple trees:
So, pruning apple trees is not a hard job and if you go after the mentioned pruning roles you will be contented beautiful tree with apple blossoms in the spring and tangy, sweet fruit in the fall.