dlands
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:33 am
Location: Ashford Middlesex England

How to Prune a Large Apple Tree?

Hi All

We have recently moved into our new house and need to prune the apple tree and I am looking for some advice on how to tackle this. I have had a look on the internet trying to work it out but when I look at my tree I don't know what to do for the best. Cant see the wood for the trees as it were! :-)

Hope someone can shed some light on it for me please?
Attachments
tree.jpg

JONA
Mod
Posts: 807
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:11 am
Location: Sussex. England

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

I take it dlands that you have a ladder that can reach up to the top of the tree and you are ok going that high!
Truthfully it could do with lowering by some heavy cutting. But....
What you could do this year to give you a much better idea on what branches to cut , and where, I would do the following.
First cut out all crossing and damaged wood. Then starting from the middle of the tree on each branch remove shoots so that there is a two foot spacing between those left. Always trying to leave those that are naturally curving outwards from the tree. This will give you a much clearer picture of your tree.
Do you know the variety?
Before hitting an apple tree hard it is good to know what it is as some varieties .......triploids or those that are naturally bi-annual.....do need more careful treatment.
Once you have spaced the wood out and we can see exactly what's going on, it will be easier to give you advice as too what hard cutting could be done.
John

dlands
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:33 am
Location: Ashford Middlesex England

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

Thanks John,

I have no idea of the variety I'm afraid, many thanks for the advice I will start with that. I was wary of going in too hard on it given the time of year as well.

Rgds Dave

Theclowndog
Full Member
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:11 pm

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

That is a pretty old tree and it needs some pretty drastic pruning. It should be noted that it will take a couple years to really recover after a pruning like that. I'll try to post a diagram of how I would tackle said project.

User avatar
MichaelC
Senior Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:32 am
Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

I, too, have some apple trees that have been neglected. This is my second year working on them. I found this document super helpful, hopefully you do as well.

https://www.apple-works.com/pruning.html

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11576
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

Very informative link. One question though, that may not be clear in the link. Most fruit trees should be pruned at a certain time of the year. Is this true of apples as well. Pruning when they are dormant or just before bud break?
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
MichaelC
Senior Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:32 am
Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

It's kind of buried:

"while the tree in the photos has leaves, (its just for looks) its best to prune trees while they are dormant. Just be sure that the weather won’t dip below 17 for a week or so after you finish so that the tree has time to recover."

I'm able to prune pretty early due to our mild weather.

JONA
Mod
Posts: 807
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:11 am
Location: Sussex. England

Re: Help complete novice! Apple tree pruning?

[quote="imafan26"]Very informative link. One question though, that may not be clear in the link. Most fruit trees should be pruned at a certain time of the year. Is this true of apples as well. Pruning when they are dormant or just before bud break?[/quote

In general apples and pears are pruned anytime during the dormant period. The exceptions are on tightly controlled trees like cordon, fan or espaliers as these need more summer work than winter pruning as they require much tighter control.
Plum and cherry....because of their susceptibility to cankers,( both normal and bacterial), pruning is normally done in early spring or late summer while the sap is in strong flow. This helps keep the pathogens away. Any pruning done on them in winter usually needs painting the cuts as you go.
John

Return to “Apple Forum”