Author Topic: Pruning new apple trees  (Read 1186 times)

Offline icemn21

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Pruning new apple trees
« on: November 12, 2014, 06:46:50 PM »
I just planted 2 apples in the back yard.  The plan was to plant young bareroot, but I found two older trees in 3 gal pots.  They are probably 6-7 feet tall with a trunk about the thickness of my finger and the first branches a good 3 feet above th ground.

I'd like to keep these trees small, as they are in a small back yard.  Is it safe to prun them all the way down to 24-30" like they suggest in the Dave Wilson backyard nursery series, or has that ship sailed?  How much is it safe to take off to encourage lower scaffold branches in the hopes of an ultimate height of 8-10 feet?

Offline loodean

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Re: Pruning new apple trees
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2014, 08:09:50 AM »
I used to run a nursery specializing in espalier fruit trees.  I can tell you can prune fruit trees just about anyway you want.  If they are apple or pear trees and you cut them way back you'll probably loose your central leader, but eventually you can train another one.  If they are stone fruit, then that's what you want - to get rid of the central leader.  Wack away, the only thing you might affect is delaying the bearing somewhat.

Offline icemn21

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Re: Pruning new apple trees
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2014, 06:40:27 PM »
Thank you so much for the response.  If I take it down to where the first branches currently are, will it force new outward growth below the cut? or is there no chance of encouraging the lowest spurs to be in the 24" high area at this point?

Offline loodean

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Re: Pruning new apple trees
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 08:25:04 AM »
Possibly.  It depends if the buds below the lower branches seem viable. If they are, there is another technique might work for you.  If you make a tiny cut above the bud, you will encourage that bud to initiate a lateral branch. If you cut below the bud you initiate a fruit bud (you don't want to initiate a fruit bud on the trunk).  This because just below the cambium (aka bark) run all the vessels (phloem) that transport water, hormones, enzymes, etc. upwards from the roots. The xylem is right in the middle of the tree and transports nutrients produced by the leaves down to the roots.  Knowing this anatomy you can control growth of any plant.