​How To Properly Prune Apple Trees

3rd May 2015

A tree sends nutrients drawn from the soil throughout its limbs in order to grow leaves and fruit. An apple tree in particular will benefit from frequent pruning in order to channel as many nutrients as possible towards the production of fruit rather than limbs. Good pruning, furthermore, eliminates dead branches that may become the target of insects or disease. What is the best way to ensure that an apple tree is properly pruned without affecting the tree's health?

Time And Place

Pruning a tree should ideally be done at certain times of the year. Early in the spring, for instance, the flowering buds will determine which branches are healthy and which cannot bear fruit. It's possible to prune during the winter if you know for certain a branch is dead -- if the bark is chipping off or if the limb is brittle and easily breaks. It's not recommended to prune during the summer months, unless an abnormal growth develops, because of the ease by which insects will invade the opening and harm the tree. Make certain you have the necessary tools for a clean and complete cut: the T2 Telescopic One Touch Handle Ratchet Tree Loppers have the compression power needed to trim through thick branches in one clean slice.

Clearing Out A Branch

Small stems will emerge from an apple tree trunk that do not have the size needed to bear apples. Start the pruning process by trimming away the small stems from the central core in order to open up airways and light paths to all parts of the tree. The P4 Ratchet by Tiger Jaw allows for very precise cuts when pruning in order to avoid harming the bark or outgrowths. Larger limbs that pose a potential threat to balancing on a ladder or falling should be cut in a circle around the bark. Cut as close to the trunk of the tree as possible, as this facilitates the healing of the tree with the least risk of infection. If you find that a branch only has flowering buds that extend to a certain point, you should remove the leaves from unproductive branches in order to give it more light. A Tiger Jaw Hedge Trimmer may be useful for reaching out and pruning the faraway leaves.

Take Out Old Fruit

A branch that has bad apple growth needs to be removed in order to keep fungal growth or insects from harming the remainder of the fruit. You can tell when a fruit is already infected by a series of brown rings about the body. Once you have removed dead and diseased fruits, be certain to either burn them or place them deep in a compost pile rather than allowing them to fall to the ground, so that their infection cannot spread to other trees.