The Q&A Archives: Trimming Dwarf Pole Apple Trees

Question: I have had 2 Dwarf Pole Apple Trees for about 4 years. One Honeygold and the other is a Cortland. This is the first year the Cortland has produced apples, nothing on the Honeygold yet. The trees are about 10 feet tall and 2 feet wide and need to be trimmed as I believe they should not get any taller. How do I trim this type of apple tree?

Thank you for your help.

Answer: I think you are describing a tree being trained to the slender spindle system as described on page five of the following publication. It includes pruning directions, but once it has reached the desired height, you would need to prune the leader each winter, cutting it back to two year old wood. You will also need to trim the laterals as described. The second article includes a diagram. You may need to cut and paste the complete url into your browser to make it work correctly.

With young trees or newer growth you may also find these techniques helpful in controlling the laterals.

Your local county extension may also be able to help you with determining the best way to prune your trees based on how they have developed so far. Good luck with your apple crop!

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