Pruning apple trees : Summer pruning vs winter pruning

Pruning apple trees is an essential step that you need to do. If you want to see the appropriate apple tree cultivation and management, you should prune them. Sometimes, many people find pruning apple trees as the biggest challenging task. It is not a challenging task if you do it with full interest.

Apple bud stages : From bud to fruit Set

Different gardeners will follow different pruning methods for different reasons. So you can follow any of the best pruning steps. But what you should keep in mind is that if you do not prune the apple trees properly, you can not see their growth and it will reduce productivity too. Therefore, pruning apple trees plays an important role in their survival, stimulation, shaping, and production.

The basic techniques that you need to follow for pruning apple trees

central leader and pyramidal form
  • Pruning should be focused on the central leader and pyramidal form

The best growth of the apple tree will result in a pyramidal and conical shape. If its structure looks with shorter branches at the top, you can let them receive sunlight. Because lower branches should require sunlight exposure. Through pruning, you should make the central leader form. Through this shape, you can see its central branch standing vertically exactly from the tree’s trunk.

  • 3 D’s pruning method

Do you know what is 3 D? Dead, diseased, and damaged branches of apple trees. Usually, the branches get broken if it is dead. Sometimes you can see different colors of the wood if it has the disease. Moreover, the damaged branch cannot bear the weight of the fruit so it is easily broken up. You need to prune the apple trees if you are able to see any of the signs regarding 3D.

  • Scaffold branch pruning

You need to prune if your tree has non-primary scaffold branches. Generally, an apple tree has 2 to 6 primary scaffold branches. Sometimes more or less primary scaffold branches depend upon their size. But if you see any of the nonprimary scaffold branches which may be 45 to 50 degree angle, you have to prune them. The reason is that if the angle is less than 50 degrees, it is unable to tolerate the weight of the fruit. If the angle of the nonprimary scaffold branches is more than 50 degrees, you cannot see proper fruits on the branches.

Prune the suckers of the tree
  • Prune the suckers of the tree

Never allow branches or shoots to be grown at the base of the trunk of the tree. If you see any suckers, just prune them out. Suckers are not good when it grows below the canopy.

  • Pruning of rubbing branches and poor branches

Generally, you can see the rubbing branches which are growing inwards. According to the growth of apple trees, it is not good to have rubbing branches with each other. Moreover, the branch which grows in a downward position cannot have enough strength to bear the weight of the fruits. Therefore, you need to prune the rubbing branch and non-bearing fruit branch.

  • Pruning of the whorls technique

Do you know what is whorls? Sounds like something unique, right? If you see a small number of branches grow from the same spot, then we call that spot whorls. It is a general thing to know, has a single big branch supported whorls? Is it good for its growth? Definitely not. Therefore, you need to prune the whorls which are unhealthier to its branch.

  • Use the pruning technique for all the back of the branches

Do you want to strengthen the stems of the tree? Are you excited to see flowers? Then you have to prune 1/3 in the backward position from its original length. But while doing this process, you should keep in mind that the cuts must have happened above the buds that face outwards. If you do like this only, you can find the tree in a healthier shaper.

  • Utilize the pruning technique in order to make thin buds

Fruit buds should be at least 4 to 6″ apart. It will be useful to carry the apple’s weight properly. Therefore, you need to prune them in order to make thin buds.

Major types of cuts while pruning apple trees

There are three major types of cuts you can see and use for pruning apple trees. They are: heading cuts, thinning cuts, and stub cuts. Let us see its purpose:

Heading cuts

Removing a branch’s upper section and returning it to a side branch or bud is popular as heading cuttings, also known as heading back. Usually, these cuts induce strong new growth right below the cut that was made.

Heading cuts

Thinning cuts

You can redirect the development of shoots to the present branches by thinning cuts, but no significant alterations in growth patterns are evident.
Moreover, you should be careful about the thinning cuts. It must be in a smooth format. Sometimes unequal cuts may result in a lower healing process and it may easily allow the disease to spread across.

Stub cuts

Stub cuts

A stub cut is an important pruning type that removes the branch while leaving the stub. You know what, it is a kind of renewing cut. Yes, after this cut, you can see fresh shoots’ growth from the stub. In fact, Shoots that emerge from the bottom of the stub will typically develop at an angle that is ideal for producing fruit.

Furthermore, it will get a broad crotch angle which creates a strong link to the central leader or scaffold. If a fruiting limb is in the right spot but needs to be changed because of a bad branch angle, illness, or harm, use a stub cut to create a new fruiting limb.

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When to prune apple trees

The best season to prune an apple tree is early spring(pruning apple trees in spring), after the last frost, to keep it healthy and strong. If you wait until the fall season ( pruning apple trees in fall) to prune it, the new growth may get hurt in the winter season.

And if you trim it in the early winter season( pruning apple trees in winter), it has a chance to get disease. But you should keep in mind that you always cut off dead or sick branches as soon as you see them to keep the tree healthy.

Importance of Summer pruning vs winter pruning

Winter pruning

Pink dragon fruit | Type | Botanical description

You need to do the winter pruning prior to the spring bud rises but keep in mind to prune them after the coldest period of the winter season. Early in the year pruning increases the tree’s fragility to low temperatures.

Because it may not have reached its full hardiness, moreover, its short-term reduces the surrounding tissue’s resistance to cold. Dormant pruning is the best way to shape a tree’s form by controlling fruit development.

Summer pruning apple trees

As a matter of fact, it is not the wisest choice to prune in the summer( pruning apple trees in summer). Sometimes you can do summer pruning anytime in summer but majorly do it in late July or August in order to remove vigorous sprouts. But you should avoid heavy pruning if your tree has a fire blight problem. Heavy pruning in the summer may affect the strength of the tree.

Precautionary steps for pruning the apple trees

  1. You always need to use clean and sharp tools in order to make a smooth cut. Never try to use dull tools which will definitely damage your tree.
  2. Furthermore, how to consider the timing of pruning apple trees, particularly before the starting of their new growth.
  3. In order to avoid spreading the infection from one branch to another, you have to disinfect the tools between the cuts.
  4. Sometimes apple trees have thorns and potential debris. Therefore, you need to wear gloves and eye-protective glasses to protect yourself from any mishaps.
  5. As a matter of fact, if you want to expect the healthy growth of apple trees, you need to regularly inspect the trees for signs of disease or pest infestation.

Why is it important to prune?

  • Pruning is important to have good harvesting by maintaining its shape and structure.
  • Do you want to grow a healthy apple tree? Then you must prune them in order to avoid dead, diseased,d or damaged wood.
  • If you prune the trees, it will let them have air circulation. Through the circulation of air, you can avoid pests and diseases.
  • The apple tree requires sufficient sunlight exposure. By pruning them, you can make them receive sunlight. It will make fruits grow more healthier.
  • Pruning promotes the newer growth of shoots and branches along with the renewal of buds which increases the yield of the crop.
  • Pruning maintains the number of fruits a plant produces which can lead to the production of healthier fruits in size and color.

Important pruning tools and their uses

  • Pruning shears are one the main tools for pruning apple trees. It is perfect to use as well as to reach small branches. There are two different types of tools when you look for pruners. One is bypass which is useful to cut existing branches. Another one is anvil pruners which are useful to prune dead branches.
  • Loppers is also the pruning tool. It allows you to easily reach higher branches. Moreover, it will support the thicker cuts. You can see bypass loppers and anvil loppers in the market for pruning purposes.
  • A saw is an essential pruning tool for cutting larger branches.

Final words

Do you want to have a healthy apple tree in your orchard? Then pruning apple trees for fruit is important. you must prune them properly. This blog post will be useful to make you informed about the techniques for pruning apple trees.

How do I avoid diseased and damaged branches in my apple tree?

You need to prune them if you find any of the diseased or damaged parts.

Do you know the suitable period to prune apple trees?

You can prune the apple tree in late winter or very early spring which is a suitable period for pruning.

What is the real meaning of “pruning” an apple tree?

When you select the branches that are affected in some way and need to be cut individually, is called pruning an apple tree.

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What are the important tools needed to prune apple trees?

Pruner, lopper, and saw.

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