I promised a few here I would post about pruning apples so here goes….
First a few basics on the basics of why we prune. If you take away anything from this, remember this….. We are trying to get both light and airflow throughout the tree! …………… Light contributes in both photosynthesis, for fuel thus strength of the trees, but also bud development for strong viable blossoms. Airflow is important to cut down on the numerous pathological diseases apples are susceptible to.
There are several methods of “training” trees, but I’ll be focussing on central leader pruning, which is the most common training method and the easiest training method.
1) With the first couple years after planting of growth there is very little pruning needed, but it is important to get them started in the right direction, which is good strong upward growth and frame. We first need a strong framework to hold many pounds of heavy apples and hold up against strong winds. Make sure the leader grows up in one central leader! If there are two, cut out the weaker of the two. Make a flush cut close to the leader you will be keeping. Never leave stubs! Where branches come off of other branches or the leader there is a ” collar ” . Cut right on the edge of the collar that you are cutting off. This will allow this cut to heal over as quickly as possible. Also try to make make it as flush/flat with the contour of the collar. Making it on an angle will cause it to grow unwanted growth. (water sprouts/ suckers). You may still get some suckers despite making a good cut, just prune them out in mid summer.
Also any strong uprights can be cut out the first year or two.
We want one nice straight strong leader! So this is step one. If you have bought a tree at some nursery or big box store, you can also cut out an extra leader at planting. One straight leader, a scaffold of branches, then one straight leader going up, like in this picture….. (keep in mind pruning is done in concert with training, the manipulation of the leader and branches to go in desired directions)
Statistics: Posted by theoutback — Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:17 am