All of this can stress the plant which can affect the growth in the following year. For some trees, the practice of thinning branches is a necessity because canopy growth becomes too dense for tree health. Apple trees should be pruned in late winter, but you can prune into the spring and summer if you must. Category: Horticulture. Tree service companies, also known as arborists, have the training and experience to prune apple trees properly. Apple trees are a popular fruit tree for the average homeowner, and pruning apple trees is one of the easiest ways to keep your apple tree looking its best. Apple trees require initial training to nurture a strong frame of branches so the trees can carry heavy apple crops. Semi-dwarf apple trees reach 12 to 15 feet at maturity, a little more than half the height of standard apple trees. Mature apple trees will tell you they are in need of rigorous pruning when the fruit output begins to diminish. Additional information on pruning fruit trees can be found in Pm-780, Pruning and Training Fruit Trees. Proper Ways to Trim Semi-Dwarf Apple Trees. Autumn or early winter pruning is more likely to result in drying and die-back at pruning sites. Unless we have a long warm spell. The best time to prune apple trees is in the winter, promoting tree growth during the growing season. Here’s an overview of how to prune apple trees from writer and apple grower, Michael Phillips. You should not prune a spur-type apple tree as aggressively as you would a partial-tip or tip-bearing apple tree. Remember that it’s better to prune a little than not at all. Prune dwarf fruit trees when you plant them, before growth starts, and again each year in late winter or early spring. There are five main points you need to keep in mind while pruning: 1. General Fruit Tree Pruning Information - Why Prune Fruit Trees. Prune ripest wood first (branches that stopped growing and have formed a terminal bud) Do not tip prune all laterals, just the more vigorous ones; Trees that have become too large. Here in the PNW in garden zone 8b, you can start as early as January and usually can go thru February. A spur is a short (3- to 5-inch) branch where the apple tree flowers and sets fruit. Apple trees that have reached desired size can be pruned in summer, hindering future growth. Prune apple and other fruit trees on an annual basis. That’s diseased, dying and dead wood. CORVALLIS, Ore. - You can prune an apple tree any time of the year without hurting it, but late winter, just before spring, is probably best. If a plant puts on new growth just before the hard winter months, it can freeze the growth. If your tree is very advanced you could start straight away. Ideally, you want to prune apple trees in late winter, before new growth begins developing on the tree. This article originally appeared in the February 9, 2001 issue, p. 9. The resulting fruit ripens by mid to late September. Find the Right Tree Service Company to Care for Your Apple Trees. More Info: Prune fruit trees annually during the dormant season, which is in the winter or early spring for most types of fruit trees, especially pome trees such as apple or pear trees. How to Prune an Apple Tree. The worst of the cold weather is past, so you won't be subjecting the fresh cuts to severe icing, but you'll still be able to influence the tree's spring growth. They bloom in early to mid-May with a profusion of white blossoms. Remove the 3Ds. Apple trees (Malus domestica species) are best planted at the end of their winter dormancy, weeks before the new leaves and flower buds break. Our crews are working every day to remove and prune trees, perform safety inspections, spray for ticks and mosquitoes, apply lawn and tree treatments, and address any other aspects of tree, shrub, or lawn care. As an essential business, we continue to operate under our normal business hours. This may depend on where you live and how long your winters are. Look at this year's growth. The reason it is best to prune your oak tree in the winter months is because of a disease that gets spread to live tissue in the summer months. The main aim when pruning is to produce a healthy tree. Pruning lets in more light and air which will help your tree be more productive. Cut it back to around 30 inches to help reestablish the plant’s previous shoot-to-root ratio. They develop many small spurs rather than long shoots, so fewer should be removed. How to Prune an Overgrown Apple Tree Leafminer Damage to Plants Leaves 4 Common Apple Tree Diseases When to Prune Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs Causes of Bare or Dead Branches on Colorado Blue Spruce Trees How to Inspect the Health of a Tree How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Black Knot How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Anthracnose What Is Plant Dormancy?