Ask a Question forum: Apple tree pruning

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Chicago area
icanhear
Jul 30, 2017 7:21 PM CST
I have an apple tree that is 8-9 years old in my best estimate. It has never been pruned. Is it harmful to the tree to begin this process now?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 30, 2017 7:37 PM CST
Wait until the tree is dormant. Then, prune each of those straight up branches back to 3 or 4 buds. Then prune all the side branches back to 3 or 4 buds. Remember that the apples will grow on the little 'spurs' in the tree and each spur lasts up to 15 years. Well pruned apple trees are just ugly. Smiling
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 30, 2017 8:05 PM CST
A picture would be informative but the right season is winter or early spring. Apple tree pruning is a fine art, best learned through experience, but Daisy has given you some excellent advice. Your pruning should serve two purposes: reinforce a strong overall shape (steer the tree in the right direction in a big picture sense, eliminating cross branches and competition) and eliminate most vertical growth, favoring a broader and shorter form. Having spent many years with apple trees, I actually find the un-pruned ones kind of ugly, especially after many years. Smiling

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