While biting into a fresh apple may seem far away, now is the time to prune your apple trees for the biggest, juiciest apples.
I don't know about you but when it comes to pruning my fruit trees I become overwhelmed very quickly. There is so much to trim, where do I start? What if I trim the wrong branch off? What if I kill the tree? These and so many other thoughts go through my mind as I prepare to prune my fruit trees.
Oh, I watch videos, you know the ones that make everything look easy. So I grab all the tools and my helper. Go out to the tree and "Ahh! Where do we start?"
The hardest part for me is pruning that first branch.
If you are like me, some of your fruit trees may not have been pruned for a while. It may take a few years of pruning before you get your trees pruned correctly.
Why do we need to prune? Pruning actually helps open up the tree to sunlight and air movement so that funguses and other diseases are less likely to develop.
Pruning also helps make the fruit larger and the tree produce more fruit.
When do you prune? Apple trees and most fruit trees can be pruned in late dormancy February-April before it warms up. Apricot trees you wait until immediately after they finish blooming.
Let's get started!
First, the basic tools that you will need: handheld pruning shears, loppers, and a pruning saw for those bigger branches.
Trim all the branches that are going straight up. Remove all dead, diseased, or broken branches. Any branches that cross or in any way compete, cut out the weaker ones. Remove suckers.
In the end, as the saying goes, "you should be able to throw a cat through the tree when you are done."
Notice the ring around the branch, the collar. You want to leave that so that the tree can heal over. If you leave it too long or cut the ring off it will not be able to grow over and heal itself. That could cause it to get insects or other diseases into the tree.
Pruning trees is an art and as with most things, practice makes you better. Let's get started!
"I (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit." John 15: 1-2