Free Articles  >>  Gardening >>  Page 106  >> 

How to Prune Apple Trees

How to Prune Apple Trees   by Paul Curran

In this article you will find out how to prune apple trees. (One
of several articles from the author on how to prune fruit trees).
Pruning apple trees can be done several ways. This operation
often causes concern, and considerable variation in ideas exists
on the subject, generally. Concerning bush trees in the small
garden, the following points should be borne in mind. First, one
may ask, "what happens if no pruning is done at all"?

The answer is that too much growth may be made, the branches will
be too congested and, although fruit will be borne, it may be
smaller than it should be. Then, the stage may be reached when
growth will slow down, and too many fruit buds will be formed in
relation to the new growth. In short, one has to aim at a balance
between wood (shoot) growth and fruit bud formation.

If very hard pruning is done after the early years more wood
growth than is needed may be produced and fruiting will be
delayed. One method of how to prune apple trees to avoid, is the
cutting off of all the new growth at the same level each year,
i.e. beheading a tree at a given height. This only encourages
more wood growth, and gives the tree little chance to make fruit
spurs and fruit buds.

How to prune apple trees - Pruning of a young tree

To start with the pruning of a young tree, after planting, this
may have 3 or 4 main branches. The 1-year-old wood (the newest
growth) should be cut back half way, to an outward-facing bud.
Strong shoots may be cut back less hard, and weaker branches
rather harder. Next autumn, or winter, the new growth that arises
from this cutting back is treated similarly. Keep only the best
two or three shoots that arise from the original branches
(leaders) and cut out any shoots that cross the centre of the
bush, the aim being to encourage an outward framework of
branches, i.e. cup shaped.

The main shoots should be treated similarly for the following
years. Meanwhile, the main branches will be furnished with side
shoots (laterals) and all these that grow out from the tree
(outward that is) can be left their full length. Those growing
inwards should be cut back each winter to two buds from the base.

In connection with how to prune apple trees, in the early years,
the question of whether fruit formed in the first season after
planting should be left or removed, is often raised. If the tree
is making good growth. I suggest that a few fruits be retained.
To leave many may cause a check in growth.

How to prune apple trees - Regulated System

A logical stage forward from no pruning is the method known as
the Regulated System. This can be followed with standard trees,
half standards and strong-growing bush trees, i.e. those on
vigorous root stocks. Briefly, with established trees this
entails only the removal of crowded or crossing branches,
thinning out unwanted shoots, and taking out any dead wood. With
this method on how to prune apple trees, sizeable branches have
sometimes to be removed, and a pruning saw, with a curved blade
is best used for this purpose. The cut surfaces of sawn off
branches should be painted over with white lead paint to prevent
entry of disease spores.

How to prune apple trees - Spur Pruning

For established bush trees on the less-vigorous root stocks, the
harder method of pruning, called Spur Pruning, is sometimes
followed. This, however, is best modified to give a method called
the Established Spur System. This is designed to encourage a
system of fruiting spurs, close to the main branch-work, and is
useful for weaker growing varieties in particular. New lateral
growth from the branch frame work is pruned back to two or three
buds from the branch. New growth will arise from these buds,
which will in turn be pruned similarly the following year.

A spur system of fruit buds will be formed at the base of these
shoots which will bear the fruit. These spur systems will need to
be thinned out, as they begin to crowd the tree, in order to
encourage new growth and reduce the amount of blossom. Some
laterals growing towards the outside of the tree may be left to
extend naturally; these will form fruit buds and bear the
earliest fruit while the spur system is being formed.

Some varieties bear fruit on the ends of the shoots, tip bearers,
as they are called, and it is essential to make provision for a
certain amount of unpruned wood. These unpruned laterals may be
cut back to fruit buds or spurs, when their length demands. In
short this method on how to prune apple trees aims at a
compromise between hard spur pruning and leaving some laterals

How to prune apple trees - Renewal System

From spur pruning, a further method has been evolved, called the
Renewal System. This method which may at first appear complicated
to the amateur is, in fact, a successful way of controlling wood
and fruit formation to the best advantage. It consists of
shortening a proportion of the annual growth in order to produce
more wood, leaving some unpruned to form fruit buds. These should
be well spaced out over the branch length, to ensure that fruit
will not be crowded. The number of laterals, or new growths, to
be shortened, depends on the variety and growth of the apple

A strongly growing tree can carry more fruit, therefore perhaps
half of the laterals could be shortened and half left untouched.
On a weaker tree, which tends to form fruit buds at the expense
of new growth, 2 in 3 of the laterals may be pruned. In this
system the individual characteristics of the tree need to be
catered for; there is no hard and fast rule. Laterals which are
pruned to 2 or 3 ins. in length, will form new wood, which is
treated as before, either to be left, or shortened in due course.

How to prune apple trees - Cordon Trees

Basically, these are Spur Pruned; that is, all the young growth,
each year, is shortened back to within 2 or 3 buds of the base,
where fruit buds will form and a spur system is built up. Space,
or lack of it, often dictates that this hard cutting back has to
be done, to keep the trees within limits.

A modified system is to leave some of the longer laterals full
length and curl them round in a circle, tying them firmly with
fillis string to make a loop. These loops will form fruit buds
along their length in subsequent years, and may be left intact so
long as there is room for them. As others are retained, the
oldest may be cut out. Espalier trees may be treated in the same
way as Cordons.

How to prune apple trees - Biennial

Bearing Some varieties of apples tend to produce a heavy crop one
year and a light one the next. If one has several trees, this
tends to balance out, as all the trees may not have the same "on
or off" tendency. If one has only 1 or 2 trees however, biennial
bearing could cause a total loss of crop one season, and the
trees would be likely to produce a heavier crop than usual the
next year, and a lighter than average the following season.

Where this is happening, before the expected cropping year,
pruning of new wood should be very light, and spur systems should
be reduced. A proportion, say one third, of the blossom should be
removed at flowering time. In other words aim at reducing the
over-heavy crops. Finally, when you have learnt how to prune
apple trees, all pruning should be done when the trees are
dormant, i.e. in autumn or winter.

About Author Paul Curran :

Paul Curran is CEO of Cuzcom Internet Publishing Group and webmaster at, providing access to their nursery supplier for a range of quality plants, trees, bushes, shrubs, seeds and garden products.<a href="">Visit their fruit trees section to find a great selection of apple trees for your garden</a>

Article Source:
Article Url:

Other Articles by Paul Curran

How to Prune Pear Trees
by Paul Curran In this article you will find out how to prune pear trees. Pruning pear trees can be done several ways. The pruning of pear trees, in the early stages, follows the same pattern as that for apples. Basically, the treatment of established bushes, in a garden, is also the same for pears and apples. There are, however, a few points to which attention should be drawn. How to prune pear trees - GeneralPears, generally, will stand harder pruning than apples without being forced into...

How to Prune Plum Trees
by Paul Curran In this article you will find out how to prune plum trees. One of several articles on how to prune fruit trees. Pruning plum trees is straightforward, once the trees are established, and consists mainly of thinning out overcrowded wood. Some rather more detailed pruning is, however, necessary in the early years, in order to build up a suitable framework. How to prune plum trees - Maiden treeIf a maiden tree is planted, that is, a tree within one year of budding or grafting,...

Planting And Care Of Shrubs
by Paul Curran In general, trees and shrubs are planted and cared for in the same way, the difference between them being chiefly one of height. One definition of the difference, however, is that while a tree has only one trunk, a shrub has several stems or trunks. Not so long ago the number of reliable shrubs was quite limited, but today the many new hybrids have lengthened the list and the gardener's choice is almost endless. No matter the region, it is now possible to plant shrubs that...

How To Plant Rose Bushes In Landscaping Your Garden
by Paul Curran For planting roses a good garden loam with organic matter is important. It must contain peat moss, leaf mold, compost, rotted or commercial manure, and the bed should be prepared as far ahead of planting as is feasible in order to allow for settling of the soil. Fall is the best time for setting out roses, but you can plant in spring. When they arrive from the nursery, plant at once. If they have dried en route, soak the roots and put the tops in a bucket of water before...

Evergreens You Can Use For Landscaping
by Paul Curran Evergreen trees and shrubs are more expensive in general than deciduous trees (trees that drop their leaves in winter). But they are worth their cost because of their year-round beauty, hardiness and longevity. Evergreens range from the broadleaved shrubs like rhododendron and laurel to the tall-needled cone-bearing pines and stately spruces.The giant spruces and firs are most effective as windscreens; the spreading evergreen shrubs are widely used not only because of their...

The Three Main Parts Of A Tree
by Paul Curran Trees can be broken down into three main parts: the roots, the leaves and the woody structure between them. The roots' function is to bring raw materials-water and mineral salt dissolved in water-to the tree. The leaves absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use the sun's light energy to combine this gas with the moisture from the roots, thus making the simple sugars that are the basic nutrients of the tree. The trunk, limbs, branches and twigs hold the leaves in position to...

Planting Or Transplanting A Tree
by Paul Curran In planting or transplanting a tree, and in building on a lot where you wish to preserve the trees, the gardener's chief consideration must be to protect the root structure of the tree. The big roots near the stem anchor the tree to the ground, while the fine root hairs at the ends of the rootlets absorb the water from the soil. In planting trees, their mature height and spread must be considered before a selection is made. Tempting as are the nursery catalogs, it is...

How To Use Hedges In Landscaping
by Paul Curran A hedge that is well kept and attractive can do much for your grounds. Used in the front of the house and on the sides of your lot, hedges are a barrier against traffic, noise and all things unsightly; at the same time they enhance the proportions and general appearance of your house and lawns. And within the boundaries of your property, hedges define paths and walks, demarcate various areas, and help to screen service areas and vegetable gardens. The plant materials...

Types Of Vines For Landscaping Your Home
by Paul Curran For covering walls of houses, boulders, stone walls, etc., the ivies are, of course, used more than other vines. Boston ivy is the quickest growing. Japanese bittersweet [Euonymus radicans) is a good vine for walls, too; evergreen, it grows well on the north sides of buildings as well as on exposed locations. Winter-creeper, in both large and small-leaved varieties, is a hardy vine for wall planting. Other vines that can cling without aid to concrete, brick and stone include...

How To Use Biennials amp Perennials In Landscaping Your Garden
How To Use Biennials & Perennials In Landscaping Your Garden by Paul Curran BiennialsBiennials are generally very beautiful plants, with most attractive flowers. They are somewhat more trouble for the gardener, since they keep growing during their first year and do not bloom until the second. Their great advantage is that their seeding stage produces new plants which will bloom again two years later, making it unnecessary to plant additional seeds. The biennials are usually plant ed in early...

Click here to see More Articles by Paul Curran
Publishers / Webmasters
Article ID: 19892
DELINK URL from Authors Bio
REMOVE Article
Tell A Friend
Leave A Comment!
Download this article in PDF
Report Article!
Search through all the articles:

195 Users Online!!
Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
Gardening >> Top 50 Articles on Gardening
Category - >
Advertising Advice Affiliate Programs Automobiles
Be Your Own Mentor Careers Communication Consumers
CopyWriting Crime Domain Names DoT com Entrepreneur Corner
Ebooks Ecommerce Education Email
Entertainment Environment Family Finance And Business
Food & Drink Gardening Health & Fitness Hobbies
Home Business Home Improvement Humour House Holds
Internet And Computers Kiddos and Teens Legal Matters Mail Order
Management Marketing Marriage MetaPhysical
Motivational MultiMedia Multi Level Marketing NewsLetters
Pets Psychology Religion Parenting
Politics Sales Science Search Engine Optimization
Site Promotion Sports Technology Travel
Web Development Web Hosting WeightLoss Women's Corner
Writing Miscellaneous Articles Real Estate Arts And Crafts

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the views of and/or its owners.

Copyright AwareINDIA. All rights reserved || Privacy Policy || Terms Of Use || Author Guidelines || Free Articles
FAQs Link To Us || Submit An Article || Free Downloads|| Contact Us || Site Map  || Advertise with Us ||
Click here for Special webhosting packages for visitors of this website only!
Vastu Shastra

Email Marketing In India Provided By AwareIndia

Company IDS