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Location: Upper Peninsula MI

Best Time or Season for Pruning Apple Trees?

What is the best time to prune apple trees is? spring fall? any time, we are in MI :)

Super Green Thumb
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Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Last week in MI. or before leaves & bloom opens.

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

:lol: why last week in MI? (maybe you need an emoticon there to indicate you were joking?)

Even here in NJ there's still time to prune the apples since the buds are still closed tight. I have pruned them when buds have started to break, too -- a way to tell which buds are strong for directional pruning.

Especially for large/significant cuts, while they are dormant is best. But never cut frozen branches. If the temps were sub freezing overnight, wait until they have thawed later in the day. Local "Sugar maple tapping and sugaring time" is generally a good guide if you are tuned into that.

Significant pruning during dormant period results in huge burst of rebound of stored energy from the roots during the growing season.

Growth limiting pruning -- little nips and tucks, and water sprout pruning -- can be done during growth, but avoid fireblight disease season. Here in NJ that's when the humidity is high between early June to late July/mid-Aug.

Greener Thumb
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The one big exception to the rule is if you are growing cordon or espalier trees.
Then they will need regular summer as well as an annual winter hair cut.

I think though that if you are not sure of identifying the difference between fruit and growth buds on your tree then it can pay to leave any pruning until the buds have well broken before cutting. It is far easier then to distinguish between these two types at that point.

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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:08 pm
Location: Upper Peninsula MI

great info applestar! thanks! we have an orchard that's probably at least 50 years old, just wanting to revive the trees a bit tif possible, I may have wanted to include that..... some are doing better than others, there is some rot on some... how does that effect the pruning process?

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