Apple pruning is important!

Apple pruning is important!

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  • Arguments for trimming
  • Ten golden rules for pruning
  • Basic pruning principles

Spring has come, and with it came the turn of one of the most important jobs in the garden - pruning. Alas, many gardeners (especially among those who not very long ago bought a house in a village with a fruitful garden) relate to this work, to put it mildly, with coolness. The reason is trivial - there is a lot of variety of works (at first glance, much more relevant), and there seems to be no particular sense in cutting off, because the garden bears fruit anyway.

Unfortunately, this approach does not end well - even black currant without pruning in a couple of years ceases to bear fruit normally due to thickening and the dominance of numerous diseases and pests. True, with such a sad outcome, the plantation of black currant is not a problem to re-plant.

With apple trees, everything is much more serious, and it is very difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to bring a neglected apple orchard to a normal state. It's not even worth talking about laying a new apple orchard, because it is a long and very hard work. Therefore, it is necessary to cut apple trees annually, in a timely manner solving all the problems that arise at the moment.

Arguments for trimming

Every gardener necessarily asks the question: why burden yourself with a laborious operation called "pruning", if everything seems to be growing normally. Unfortunately, without pruning, getting good annual apple yields for a long time is simply unthinkable. And at the same time, they often remember about pruning only when old trees stop bearing fruit and turn out to be so affected by pests and diseases that no drastic measures can any longer help. So why is it necessary to prune even young trees every year? There are, in fact, three reasons.

First, the quality of the harvest is significantly improved - the apples become larger, better colored and more tasty. Everything is simple here - when part of the branches are removed from the crown, the number of growth and fruit buds is reduced, and all nutrition is distributed between the remaining buds. As a result, more nutrients get to the growing fruit.

Secondly, the periods of active fruiting of apple trees are prolonged, since in the process of pruning diseased and weak branches are removed, which prevents the development of diseases and, to some extent, can lead to a decrease in the number of pests. As a result, the tree is healthier and does not age as quickly.

Thirdly, it simplifies the maintenance and harvesting operations, because in the process of pruning, the height of the crown is adjusted (which means it will be easier to harvest) and it is thinned out (which will make it more convenient to spray with chemicals and stimulants). It will also not be superfluous to say that as a result of competent pruning, the winter hardiness of plants increases and a larger yield is formed.

Ten golden rules for pruning

You need to prune annually - irregular pruning leads to a thickening of the crown, the accumulation of pests and diseases, and a decrease in yields. If you need to cut a large number of branches, it is undesirable to carry out all the pruning required for the plant in one go - it is better to stretch this process for 2-3 years. At the same time, one should not expect that pruning will compensate for defects in care (insufficient feeding, poor soil, unsuitable climate, etc.). When pruning, it should be remembered that any pruning is a kind of surgical intervention, which means that pruning should only be a forced measure by which various crown defects are eliminated. Therefore, before cutting off any branch, think carefully and adhere to the main medical principle - do not harm.

In practice, harming a plant is quite simple - especially when pruning the crowns of young trees, since here the consequences of incorrect pruning are very difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to correct in the future. Don't believe me? But everything is very simple. For example, in the case of weak pruning of a strong one-year branch, the base of a two-year branch, as a rule, is formed bare, since the ringlets (Ringworm is the weakest growth and the shortest, but it is slightly thicker than the others.It grows by 1-3 mm per year, forming ring ribs - ed.) are formed in the middle part of the cut annual branch, and growth shoots only at its very end.

As a result, the growth branches on the apple tree will be distributed inefficiently in terms of the occupied light space, and the number of ringlets will be small, which means that you should not expect large yields from the tree. Conversely, moderate pruning will lead to the formation of both fruit and growth shoots throughout the branch. In turn, with strong pruning, only growth shoots will be formed, and this is again bad, because the apple tree will enter fruiting much later.

When pruning fruit trees, a number of important rules should be observed:

  1. To avoid weakening trees, do not inflict multiple large wounds on them in one year. Therefore, neglected, dense crowns must be brought into proper form not in one year, but gradually, over the course of 2-3 years. However, it is much wiser to take care of the crown of trees in a timely manner - in this case, you can do with minimal pruning.
  2. It is better to pinch the branch in a timely manner than to prune it later.
  3. Dry, broken and diseased branches should always be removed. Such branches must be cut to healthy wood, otherwise the wounds will not heal.
  4. Split cuts or stumps should not be left, however, it is also unacceptable to touch the bark on the supporting branch or trunk. When shortening the shoot, the cut should be done at an angle directly above the bud or side branch without leaving a hemp.
  5. Do not make too beveled (the shoot may be damaged), too long (the hemp may rot) and too short (may interfere with the growth of the bud) sections. The ideal cut is made from the trunk to the kidney and looks neither too long nor too short.
  6. It is imperative to protect the sections with garden varnish or its substitutes.
  7. Weak plants should be pruned more, and strong and healthy - only lightly.
  8. It is necessary to use only high-quality and well-sharpened secateurs and loppers - a bad tool can cause significant wounds to a tree.
  9. Keep the tool clean - a clean tool cuts better.
  10. When pruning trees, do not climb on them, since this can cause serious damage to the branches - you need to use ladders or all kinds of supports.

Basic pruning principles

In practice, pruning apple trees is a rather complicated process and, I would even say, creative. The fact is that this operation should be carried out taking into account various factors, such as the age of the tree, the general features of its crown (due to belonging to a particular variety) and the nuances of the formation of a particular tree, the biological state at a given time, etc.

In terms of age, it is easier - in young trees that are in the stage of active crown growth, as a rule, they do not resort to pruning, preferring shaping and plucking. With regard to actively fruiting trees, they usually carry out "refreshing" or "light rejuvenating" pruning, and old trees (older trees are considered to be apple trees over fifty years old) are subjected to cardinal rejuvenation. Obviously, it is safer and more profitable to keep the apple tree in the stage of active fruiting for as long as possible by annual pruning, since cardinal rejuvenation is a laborious process, extended in time, painful for the tree and not always leading to positive results.

The nature of the crown (first of all, the type of branching) of a particular tree must also be taken into account when pruning. In this sense, pruning of apple trees with an average degree of branching (and, accordingly, a mixed type of fruiting) turns out to be less laborious. Such apple trees are distinguished by good awakening of the buds - they form fruit branches of medium strength, perennial and well-branched. In this case, fruit buds are formed on branches of various types (from ringlets to branches with a strong growth). As a result, for apple trees of such varieties, it is recommended to carry out a relatively small shortening (or even just pinching) of the branches and a rather rare thinning of the crown.

On the contrary, when pruning trees with a strong shoot-forming ability, shortening of branches should be avoided, since shortening leads to excessive thickening of the crown and the need for a stronger pruning as a result. Moreover, such apple trees require regular complete removal of the branches thickening the crown. If the shoot-forming ability of apple trees is weak, then the shortening of the branches is absolutely necessary - without it, the branches will form bare, and the crown is too sparse. Timely shortening of shoots by one third or even half of their length will stimulate more active branching.

As for the nuances of the formation of a particular tree, this is no less important. The fact is that when determining the degree of pruning of a particular branch, its position matters. For example, the lateral branches (with an angle of departure of 60-80 degrees) are cut somewhat less than the conductor, and with an increase in the angle of departure of the lateral branch, the degree of its shortening should be less, since annelids are formed on branches close to horizontal in position, than those of upward-looking shoots. Moreover, branches with an angle of discharge close to 90 degrees should not be cut off at all, but limited to pinching them by 1-3 cm to remove the apical bud (this technique contributes to the formation of more annelids).

When deciding on pruning, it is extremely important to pay attention to the biological state of the tree - the neglect of the crown, the degree of damage to the tree by diseases, whether it was frozen in the past winter, etc. Therefore, in each specific case, the approach to pruning turns out to be individual.

Read the next part: Rules for pruning apple trees of different ages

Svetlana Shlyakhtina,
Yekaterinburg city

Read also about apple trees:
• What are columnar apple trees
• Apple tree: origin and groups of varieties
• Basic rules for pruning fruit trees and shrubs
• Recommendations for pruning apple trees for hobby gardeners

Apple tree pruning in spring, action diagram

To achieve a positive result you need:

• Setting a specific goal for yourself
• Correct pruning of apple trees in spring, taking into account the patterns of their fruiting and growth
• Ability to take into account the reaction of an apple tree of a certain variety, condition and age to the selected method
• Choose such types of impact on the apple tree that inflict the least wounds on it
• Pruning apple trees in the spring at the optimal time
• Working with a sharp and clean tool
• Protection of wounds inflicted on wood
• Necessary preparation for working with the tool.

Pruning apple trees in spring: timing

They begin to prune trees at that time, when there is still no intensive sap flow.

The timing of pruning apple trees in the spring in the Moscow region and central regions of Russia is the end of March, but if there is still snow on the site, then wait until it melts. It is better that the air temperature is above zero.

In April, shoots are cut from trees in the north. It is required to trim before the beginning of the swelling of the kidneys. Pruning a young tree with blooming buds greatly reduces the number of fruits.

Apple pruning for beginners - what to remove first:

  1. Withered and broken branches
  2. One of the closely spaced branches is a weaker one
  3. Vertically located fat shoots - tops
  4. Branches growing at an acute angle.

  1. It is necessary to cut off "on the ring".
  2. The knife and saw must be sharp.
  3. If part of a branch is removed, cut over a strong bud.
  4. There is debate about the need to process the slices, but when pruning in the spring, treatment with a fungicidal paste is more desirable than not.


Experts and amateurs unanimously declare: when eliminating dry, excess or diseased branches, only sharp hacksaws, pruning shears or saws should be used. One of the main requirements is a clean blade, free of rust and foreign substances. Otherwise, any cut or stump on the trunk or branch can "fester" and infect the entire tree with a disease, thereby destroying it.

A "live" cut needs insulation (if it is a small stump) or a substance to prevent the outflow of tree sap. In addition to garden mastic and oil paint, ordinary children's plasticine can be used for these purposes. It is better, of course, to choose the least bright color - it is less stuffed with chemicals and will bring less harm to the “patient”.

In general, the main thing is to adhere to the basic rules prescribed by experts for pruning trees, and fruit trees in particular. However, if you are not confident in your abilities and skills, consult with specialists. Better yet, invite them for help. The first time it is better to observe the actions of an experienced person, the next - you can already do all the manipulations yourself.

Do you know how to prune an apple tree correctly? Our experts will tell you

Pruning apple trees is a technique every gardener needs to own.

By applying pruning at random, without knowing the rules, gardeners can cause irreparable damage to fruit trees.

Competent pruning is an important element in the formation of a well-groomed, consistently fruitful apple orchard.

Pruning dwarf apple trees in the fall

A dwarf apple tree, or rather caring for it and pruning, differ from the usual only in the scale of work. Most likely, you will not need a ladder or other lifting devices, but the scheme for pruning an apple tree in the fall will be traditional.

The younger the apple tree, the less it is pruned. In the early years, the branches are shortened by a quarter of the annual growth. At the age of 5-7 years, the branches of dwarf apple trees are shortened by a third and a crown is formed. Trees that are older than 10 years old and have begun to reduce fruiting are thinned the crown and cut the branches in half.

Autumn pruning of a dwarf apple tree is mostly sanitary and thinning in nature, the main formation of the crown is carried out in the spring. After the leaves fall, you have to carry out the following manipulations:

  1. remove damaged branches, cracked under the weight of the fruit or affected by a disease - they will still die in winter
  2. remove all vertical shoots, as well as those that grow deep into the crown, thickening it
  3. cut out one-year-old growth that grows at too sharp an angle - it will not support the load of snow and can damage the main branches
  4. disinfect the sections with a 3% solution of copper sulfate and cover with garden varnish
  5. remove any wood removed from the garden and use at the base of high ridges or burn.

Watch the video: Pruning An Apple Tree in 5 Easy Steps