How to Prune an Apple Tree (with Diagram)

Pruning apple tree is important to the health and production of the tree. This diagram will show you how to prune your apple tree the right way.

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Apple trees need to be pruned every year to remove dead or diseased wood, stimulate new growth, and promote fruit production. The best time to prune your apple tree is in late winter or early spring before the tree starts to produce new growth.

There three main types of apple tree pruning: training, thinning, and heading. Training is done during the first few years after planting to establish the desired shape of the tree. Thinning is done every year to remove excess growth and promote fruit production. Heading is done every few years to stimulat new growth and maintain the desired shape of the tree.

Before start pruning, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the three main types of cuts: heading cuts, thinning cuts, and renewal cuts. Heading cuts are made just above a bud or branch, causing the branch to grow in that direction. Thinning cuts are made at an angle just above a bud or branch, causing the branch to grow in a more open form. Renewal cuts are made all the way back to the trunk of the tree, stimulating new growth from that point.

When pruning your apple tree, always make sure your cuts are clean and sharp. This will help prevent infection and encourage healing.

What You’ll Need

-Pruning shears
-A ladder (if necessary)

First, you’ll need to gather your supplies. You’ll need pruning shears, loppers, and a ladder if your tree is too tall to reach.

The Tools

You will need a few tools to prune your apple tree properly. First, you will need a pair of bypass pruners. These have curved blades that come together in a scissor-like fashion, and are used for cutting live wood up to about 1/2 inch in diameter. You will also need a felling axe or hatchet to cut larger branches, and a pruning saw for branches too large to be cut with the pruners or hatchet. Finally, you will need a sharpening stone to keep your tools sharp.

The Process

Prune your apple tree annually in late winter or early spring when the tree is still dormant. This prevents the spread of disease, allows better airflow and sunshine penetration, and prevents crossings and codominant stems.
Start by removing any dead, diseased, or crossing branches with pruning shears or a saw. Then remove any suckers growing from the roots or trunk of the tree. Next, remove any codominant stems (two stems of equal size competing for dominance). Finally, thin out the remaining branches to allow more light and air circulation.

When pruning, make your cuts at a 45 degree angle about 1/4 inch above a lateral bud (a side branch). This will encourage new growth in the desired direction. Avoid leaving stubs, which can lead to disease. Make sure your pruning tools are sharp to avoid injuring the tree.

Here is a diagram of how to prune an apple tree:


Pruning an apple tree is not difficult, but it is important to do it correctly. A properly pruned apple tree will be healthier and will produce more fruit. With a little practice, you will be able to prune your own apple tree with ease.

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