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gjbingham 01-14-2008 08:55 PM

Pruning Apple Trees
Hi all,
I've been busting my bum during this cold/wet weather to prune my seven apple trees. I hacked the heck out of them last year, as it had been a couple of year since they'd been pruned. I got almost no fruit last summer, after a glut the year before.

I'm not sure if it was the noticeable lack of Honey Bees or my excessive pruning that cut the production. Anybody here have recommendations for pruning these suckers? I still can't tell a fruit bud from a bud that will just grow a new branch.


PizzaPolice 01-14-2008 09:51 PM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
It depends on what system you're using, open or central leader. Mostly, you want to X out the new growth that point straight up and leave the downward limbs. Thin out lateral running branches. Usually, you want to cut just after the bud and leave only what will be supported come apple pickin' time.
I've got a yard full of 'em but haven't messed with them in years. I can't stand the spraying part. In a nutshell, you kinda want them to look like helicopters parked on the tarmac.

james 01-14-2008 10:35 PM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees

Originally Posted by PizzaPolice (Post 22473)
...In a nutshell, you kinda want them to look like helicopters parked on the tarmac.

Or a big wine goblet. Curved, and open in the middle. :-)

gjbingham 01-15-2008 07:58 AM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
Thanks. That's pretty much what I've got. Very big old trees pruned to umbrella shapes over the years. I try to direct the growth downward to make for easier picking.

BrianShaw 01-16-2008 12:13 PM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
You don't want advise from me... I pruned a lemon tree two years ago and it has retaliated by not setting a bud ever since. I did prune it hard, but spoke softly throughout the procedure. Maybe I should have sung it a lullaby too!

Good luck on your pruning!

gjbingham 01-16-2008 07:09 PM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
Ha! No lulabies for the trees then. Watch for my progress on the trees on George's Pompeii Progress thread.

carioca 01-16-2008 11:38 PM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
Hello George!

Bianca's the pruning 'expert', I'll check with her when she comes in tonight. But the open vase approach, and the castration of vertical 'water sprouts' sounds about right!

We have possums that prune our apple trees for us: they climb along the slenderest branches until the branch breaks - and eventually dies off...

The possums - and nasty big birds that look like hyaena crosses - have so far ripped off almost every single nashi pear, most early apples and are now getting stuck into the unripe late season apples...

I've managed to protect one William pear tree with huge amounts of netting, but had to cut off the central leader just to get the nets over the tree...



gjbingham 01-17-2008 08:39 AM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
Thanks for the input. Those birds do sound big and nasty. Netting fruit trees must be a pain. I hate to even think about getting the stuff over grape vines.

Acoma 01-17-2008 08:47 AM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
Raise some hawks and owls...predators..then you may have the fruits of your labor.

gjbingham 01-17-2008 11:42 AM

Re: Pruning Apple Trees
If I scared away the birds, the deer would be next to harvest the vines. Whatta ya gonna do?

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