Old or neglected apple trees that haven’t been pruned for several years. These trees often tall, unproductive, contain large number of dead branches. Fruits produced on neglected trees often poorly colored, low sugar content and misshapened.
Though the trees are old, properly renovated and shaped trees can produce good quality apples. Pruning increases fruit production and fruit size, promotes better color and increases sugar content. Pruning decreases insects and disease problems allowing better spray coverage.
The first step of renovation of old apple trees is extensive pruning. The purpose of pruning are to reduce tree height, thin out undesirable branches and of course producing better quality apples. The complete renovation may take up to 2 to 3 years. The best time for pruning is winter or early spring (late February or Early April).
- To prune an old or neglected tree, follow the procedures outlined bellow:
- Prune out all dead, diseased and broken branches.
- Reduce the height of the tree by heading back. Up to 4 to 5 feet can be removed in one year. If you need to remove more top growth, spread out the pruning over 2 to 3 years.
- Remove undesirable interior branches, prune out crossing limbs and water sprouts.
- Prune off low-hanging branches.
- Once renovated, only moderate pruning should be the following years.
Though apple trees may be old, good quality fruits can be obtained by proper pruning and spraying.