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rainbowgardener
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pruning my new apple trees

So a few days ago I planted two apple trees in my new yard, a red delicious semi-dwarf and a gala dwarf.

Here's pictures:
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the first two are the red delicious, second two are the gala.

They are newly in the ground and it is late in the season. We must be coming up on average first frost date (although currently 42 is the lowest temp in the 10 day forecast). I'm thinking that means I shouldn't do anything to them now, except maybe mulch well? No pruning?

All these years of gardening and I have never grown a fruit tree! Never had the space before. In the spring we will add two peach trees....
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JONA
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

Hi Rainbow
Gues it depends on what shape you want to have for your trees. If it's as centre leaders then I would suggest that both trees have three dominant branches. In each case the two not needed as leader should be tied down to as near 45 degrees as possible without threatening to snap them.
Don't prune them as this would just encourage more growth....and lightly tip the leader to encourage that to become the dominant control branch.


If you want a bowl shape then tip all three and give the tree a shape by just pulling the branches outward slightly. Remember the golden rule of pruning by cutting to an outward facing bud.
They look good strong trees Rainbow.
John

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Re: pruning my new apple trees

I would not prune if you are going to until very early spring just before they come out of dormancy. The exception is that broken limb to an outside bud. By all means mulch and if you are in a windy area at all stake those trees for a year or so. In the spring when you have decided on the pruning style (open bowl trees are shorter than if you central leader them- if that helps makes the decision) then prune what you need too. Generally you prune to shape a tree when it is young. Therefore, you will be able to study the tree and decided on which limbs are the most evenly spaced, strongest and have the widest angle from the main trunk. Many arborists in this country now feel that open bowled trees are stronger and withstand wind better. They often have better airflow, reducing disease. Traditionally, apple trees were pruned mostly to central leader. In the spring after pruning, then start spreading those branches carefully so that they are between 45-60 degree angles. (note, actually 90 is the strongest of all, but generally only utilized in espaliered forms. The more narrow the angle the more likely they are to brake once they start bearing a full load.

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Re: pruning my new apple trees

Those trees really do look strong. I'm envious; they look so much better than the wimpy ones I bought recently. I did the best I could, but there didn't seem to be any really nice ones available around here.

I saw on a u tube video recently a guy who has a nursery was recommending staking your trees in such way that they are tied off at a lower point along the trunk. This way the tree sways in the wind some, and so is encouraged to develop a natural resistance to the wind. (stronger roots, limbs, trunk) What do you guys think about this?

JONA
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

Taiji wrote:Those trees really do look strong. I'm envious; they look so much better than the wimpy ones I bought recently. I did the best I could, but there didn't seem to be any really nice ones available around here.

I saw on a u tube video recently a guy who has a nursery was recommending staking your trees in such way that they are tied off at a lower point along the trunk. This way the tree sways in the wind some, and so is encouraged to develop a natural resistance to the wind. (stronger roots, limbs, trunk) What do you guys think about this?
This is ok if your tree is on a fairly strong root stock. 106 or stronger. Not recommended if it's on a stock like a 9 or even weaker.
John

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rainbowgardener
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

Is there any way for me to know what rootstock(s) they are on?

I got them from a good reputable local garden center, but even so the staff person there knew less than I did about apple trees (and I sure don't know very much) and there was very little information that came with the tree.
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

rainbowgardener wrote:Is there any way for me to know what rootstock(s) they are on?

I got them from a good reputable local garden center, but even so the staff person there knew less than I did about apple trees (and I sure don't know very much) and there was very little information that came with the tree.
Oh dear Rainbow.....this happens so often.
There is no way to tell the rootstock by just looking.
Good garden centres should always have good labels on their trees.
Essentials are....name, rootstock, and the letter T if the tree is a triploid. This is basic info before buying a tree.
Personally I would never buy a fruit tree from a garden centre, but go to the nursery that grows them. Either in person or by mail.
That way you can get all the details straight before you plant.
I sometimes suspect that garden centres get the poorer trees from the nurseries that the commercial growers have rejected.
John

CharlieBear
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

I agree with John and then some. It is not enough to even know the root stock. For example, I have 5 ultra dwarf apple trees and even on the smallest root stock currently available for commercially available trees in the US some of the varieties can still get 30 feet tall while others will top out at 4-5 feet. The apple variety will have a very big influence on the actual height of the tree. The "dwarf" could be on anything from m 26 up to a semi-dwarf stock. In the garden center the term dwarf simply means smaller than a standard tree.

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applestar
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

Yes, it really IS a learning experience to buy good fruit trees. It's taken me a few tries, though I've been lucky with some sources right away.

Based on previous experiences -- I'm a wimp when it comes to spraying them, so I first research for disease resistant varieties, then look for availability of right rootstock grafted bare-root trees to buy.

I'm currently looking for a couple of Asian pears and an apple tree. 8)

Last year, I also got as far as finding out that there are some nurseries with informative websites that won't sell directly to the public but do already has affiliations with local garden centers and landscapers and I could buy through them. :bouncey:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Francesco Delvillani
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

I would prune at the end of Winter....anyway it's not strictly necessary for your tree....it is not grown too much at the moment, anyway if you want it tall your should remove the first branch starting from the ground.

For other plants I would advice you also Paw Paw (Asimina Triloba)
Time flies and you're the pilot ! Cit. :D

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rainbowgardener
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apples on my new trees.

So the apple trees made it through winter and are doing very well. They were covered in blooms and now have tiny baby apples. Not covered in them, because not all the blooms set apples and I already pinched some out where they were closely clustered. But maybe thirty or so apples per tree. The Gala apple tree (dwarf) is at least seven feet tall now. It was a big sturdy tree when we bought it last fall, probably a third year tree? The Red Delicious is even taller but not as full.

My question is should I let these young trees try to produce the apples? Should I pinch more of them off? Pinch (almost) all of them off? Will it set the trees back to let them grow their first crop now?

thanks
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

Sounds great Rainbow.
Both The Reds and the Gala would benefit if you thinned them to singles. This would ensure you got good size.
I would let them carry the whole crop then as it would help to slow them down....especially the Reds...as being a triploid it will try to grow strongly if given the chance.
I don't know what your growing season is like but over here we find we have to pick Gala over a fairly long period. Sometimes doing three or more pick-overs to make sure we get them at their best, same supplies to Braeburn.
The Red Delicious family....Jonogored...Jonogold....etc, all grow strongly and as tip bearers need good control when young so it's good to get them in the habit of regular heavy cropping.
John

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rainbowgardener
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Re: pruning my new apple trees

thank you, so much, JONA! We are lucky to have someone so knowledgeable as you hanging around here! :D
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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