Thread: Pruning apple trees

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  1. #1
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
    Posts
    598

    Pruning apple trees

    When is the best time to prune an apple tree? I've heard something like after the fruit falls and before next year's growth.... or something like that. If that's true, then that time is coming up soon.

  2. #2

    RE: Pruning apple trees

    Now would be good. Where you are, a month ago would have been better. But, unless you have a TARDIS, that's not an option. It should be before the tree comes out of dormancy.

  3. #3
    Oak
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ogdensburg, NY
    Posts
    90

    RE: Pruning apple trees

    I grew up in Sodus, NY (zone 6). If you go to one of those websites that gives arial photos and look at one for Sodus, all you'll see are rows and rows. Those are apple orchards. My house was surrounded by them.

    Brush fires were always in the fall around Halloween.

    I don't know what being out of dormancy means exactly, but the three apple trees in my backyard already have buds on them. I'm in zone 4-5. :-/

  4. #4
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
    Posts
    598

    RE: Pruning apple trees

    I think they are dormant in the winter.

    My trees were covered in white flowers and all the flowers fell off about a week ago. I guess that means little apples should be forming next.

    I know I've read somewhere I have 2 weeks from when the apples fall off to prune. If I wait longer than that, I will cut off next year's apple's. Does anyone know anything about that? Is it true?

  5. #5

    RE: Pruning apple trees

    I know I've read somewhere I have 2 weeks from when the apples fall off to prune. If I wait longer than that, I will cut off next year's apple's. Does anyone know anything about that? Is it true?
    It's not true.

    Pruning apple trees can be difficult, if you want to do it perfectly, but it's not very hard if you want to do it simply alright. For most of us (visualize me jumping up and down saying "yup, that's me!"), "alright" is plenty good enough.

    Other than cutting off water spouts, suckers, and damaged limbs, serious pruning (i.e., more than a little snip here and there) should wait for full dormancy. For most of us, that means January-February. Then it's a matter of pruning to a)encourage desired growth (i.e., "heading cuts") and b)removing growth that's in the wrong direction or in the wrong place (i.e., "thinning cuts"). That's pretty much it.

    There are loads of websites (try googling "prune apple tree") and books that give details about this. E.g. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag29.html. But it's really nothing to be too nervous about. Just make sure that you have an idea of what should and shouldn't be there and it's helpful to be able to distinguish between a fruit bud and a leaf bud. The aforementioned sites and books should include some nice pictures

    There are other trees with which you can get into serious trouble. For example, peaches grow this year's fruit on last year's wood growth. So if you prune off a current year's growth as part of the training of the tree, you won't get any fruit in the following year.

  6. #6
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dalton, GA
    Posts
    598

    RE: Pruning apple trees

    Yeah, it could have been peaches I was thinking about. Sifting thru everything on the net takes determination. Its easier to ask.

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