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Pruning apple trees

 
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Northern_Lad



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 14210
Location: Somewhere
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 12 8:18 pm    Post subject: Pruning apple trees  Reply with quote    

How aggressive can I be?

I have one that's being blocked by a cherry tree (but that's a different post) so it's growing sideways. There were lots of apples on it last year but they rotted quickly on the tree as I think there's not much air-flow through it.

I want to take a lot of the lateral growth off, as the long branches touch the ground when fruiting, and some off the top, but I'm just wondering how much to take out of the middle.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41968
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 12 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I reckon you can prune about twice as hard as looks comfortable. I've never seen a tree die because it was over-pruned.

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34918
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 12 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

eh up!

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35400
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 12 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

about a 1/3rd out the middle once the dead stuff is out is a good limit for first trim

Midland Spinner



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 2931
Location: Under a green roof
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 12 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think that the advice is if you need to take a lot out, take whole limbs not lots of individual side branches (otherwise you'll get a lot of watershoots).
But 1/3 per year is a good rule of thumb in this garden.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 12 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=90

Mutton



Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 1508

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 12 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I once read that if you prune in the autumn/winter you will get lots of new branches growing next year. If you don't want that then prune when it is in blossom as the tree is concentrating on blossom and won't switch to lots of new branches so your pruning lasts longer. I think it was when the tree was in blossom not after that, but not entirely sure. (I could see it that you would potentially knock off a lot of blossom.)

Never tried it, don't know if it is good advice or not. However when neighbour had her apple trees severely pruned they did indeed put out a lot of new growth the following year, coppice style as 'twere.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34018
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 12 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sean wrote:
I reckon you can prune about twice as hard as looks comfortable. I've never seen a tree die because it was over-pruned.


My huge weeping willow did, but i think that was because honey fungus got in wounds or while it wasn't making any energy.

Nicky Colour it green



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 8697
Location: Devon, uk
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 12 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

if you prune really hard you might not get any apples for a few years. if you just do a third a year, you still get apples whilst improving the tree

Northern_Lad



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 14210
Location: Somewhere
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 12 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks all.

I think I'll take a good chunk out - it's leggy, rather than dense in the main. I'll follow that up by trimming and extra growth while it's blossoming if needed.

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