tree pruning - Knowledgebase Question

Fenton, Mi
Question by lcolvin
March 5, 2010
Last April (2009) we planted 2 semi-dewarf McIntosh apple trees. Do we begin pruning this year? And any other advise you can give as we know nothing of how to care for them.

Answer from NGA
March 5, 2010


Your new trees probably won't need pruning for another 2-3 years, depending upon their rate of growth. The best time to prune apple trees in the northeast is late winter, while they are still dormant. You can prune off any broken branches and any branches that are crossing or rubbing. You can also remove any branches that are growing straight up. These are called suckers and they generally are non-producting. when you prune a branch out, prune it back to where it begins. Don't leave stumps. Since your trees are young prune for symmetry. If there are misplaced or overly long branches, prune them completely off or shorten them so they are more in line with the rest of the branches. Aside from watering on a regular basis and feeding lightly in the spring, you may not have to do anything else for your trees. If they begin to develop fungal diseases as they mature, you may want to use a lime/sulfur (also called Bordeaux) spray in the early spring. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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