Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips for Pruning Older Apple Trees

Pruning an older apple tree, especially a neglected one requires patience and a little tlc.

As apple trees age, they can sometimes become overcrowded, particularly if the apple tree has changed owners over the course of its life or become neglected. A careful and slow pruning regimen can restore an older apple tree to its earlier beauty and production levels. The key to success is to never trim away more than one-third of the tree in any given year. The tree can suffer from shock and you’’ do more harm than good otherwise.

Assess the Apple Tree

Is it overgrown? Is it crowded? Where? Think about the shape the tree should have when the process is completed. A good shape for the canopy is either round or pear-shaped. Throughout the process, step back and evaluate your progress to be sure you aren’t taking too much from any one place.

Start Pruning the Apple Tree

Pruning should be done during the dormant period before any buds begin to break. Start from the top and trim the edges to create your desired shape. You will need to use a ladder and this involves a certain amount of risk. Position it safely against the tree, securing it as necessary to prevent slippage.

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