Fruit trees represent a significant asset for your garden or your green space. It is essential to pay particular attention to their maintenance for a better harvest. The apple tree is one of the oldest fruit trees. To maintain your apple tree, it is necessary to prune it. But how to do it? Discover all the details in this article.
Why Prune an Apple Tree?
Pruning an apple tree offers many advantages.
In terms of the tree’s well-being, pruning an apple tree aims to keep the tree healthy. On the one hand, it eliminates the annoying branches (useless, sick, dead, harmful) and stimulates the growth of new branches. On the other hand, it allows avoiding certain diseases of fruit trees such as canker and scab. But to obtain better results, it is necessary to apply a suitable treatment after pruning.
In terms of reproduction, pruning optimizes fruiting, as it facilitates air circulation, light penetration in the different sections, and ripening of the existing fruits. After pruning, the sap is redirected to the branches that produce the best quality apples.
In addition, pruning the apple tree favors cuttings. This consists in cutting a part of the apple tree and stimulating it to produce roots and new stems to give new variety of apples. Pruning also helps the apple tree eliminate clutter to provide a better visual appeal.
Who Can Prune an Apple Tree?
For apple trees that are low in height and require only a simple operation, you can prune them yourself because there is no safety risk involved. However, you must know the proper pruning techniques.
However, for tall apple trees that require complex operations, call on the services of a professional pruner and climber. He is best placed to prune heavy branches that are high up.
When to Prune an Apple Tree?
The pruning of pome fruit trees, including apple trees, must be done every year in autumn or at the beginning or end of winter (except for frost); these are the proper periods to prune your apple tree.
Avoid pruning your apple tree in summer or spring because these are periods when the growth of apple trees reaches its peak.
What Are the Different Types of Pruning?
In general, apple trees are pruned in a trigeminal way, which means the branches are pruned, leaving only 3 eyes. But the pruning is not the same for all varieties of apple trees. You should focus on rejuvenation pruning for aging apple trees and avoid that small branches growing below the branches. For apple trees with drooping or semi- drooping growth, it is necessary to thin out the trees for good ventilation and rejuvenation pruning to remove the most drooping branches.
With Which Tools Should I Prune an Apple Tree?
To prune an apple tree, you need to gather the following tools:
- a saw to remove large branches
- a shear and a branch cutter to cut off the medium branches
- sharp secateurs to remove twigs and small branches
- a healing putty for wound dressings
- a ladder to perform operations at height.
What Are the Steps to Prune an Apple Tree?
-Analyze your apple tree and identify the elements to be removed and pruned. Be aware that horizontal branches produce more apples.
-Select the 4 or 5 best large lateral branches that form the tree’s framework and prune the other large branches.
-Prune the selected lateral branches after the third outward pointing bud.
-Cut off the small branches that intersect the crown, and remove rotten apples.