Cut the apple tree correctly

The same applies to the apple tree: The pruning of the fruit tree should keep the tree in bloom and thus guarantee high yields during harvest. Find out how to prune an apple tree here.

  • When to cut the apple tree?
  • How to cut apple tree?
  • Espalier fruit: cut the apple tree

The apple tree behind the house is a must in the Naschgarten: The effort for the fruit tree care is relatively low, but in late summer and autumn it delivers fresh apples from its own cultivation every day.
So that the harvest is enough for compote and apple pie, you should keep the following tips in mind when pruning fruit trees.

When to cut apple tree

You should prune your apple tree while the tree is dormant (November to March), i.e. before the new growth phase in spring. Practical tip: In an emergency, you can also cut the apple tree directly after flowering. Then you can also see which branches will later bear only a few fruits (= few flowers on the branch).

Although the main pruning time for your apple tree is winter, summer pruning is also very important. In apple trees, it ensures that the fruits ripen better and the harvest is particularly splendid. From August you should once again clear out all the shoots that are too close together and that are growing upwards and inwards.

How to cut apple tree

In general, the following rule of thumb applies when pruning fruit trees: If the branch is severely cut back, the fruit tree reacts with wood growth (strong new shoots in the tip, crown structure). If, on the other hand, a branch is only slightly cut back, moderately strong, new branches will form along the entire length of the shoot (more fruit wood, compression of the crown).

When pruning your apple tree, you should remove all shoots that are in strong competition with other fruit-bearing branches. These include above all:

  • dead / diseased / damaged / dry / blossomless branches
  • intersecting / too close together / inward growing shoots

Practical tip: water bullets are always removed! Cut off the steeply rising shoots directly on the astring.

The graphic shows how to correctly use the scissors when pruning a tree:

  • Above: That’s right! Make the cut at a slight angle away from the branch.
  • Middle: Wrong, too much wood of the cut branch was left here.
  • Below: A long cone is cut at an angle towards the branch – this is where moisture collects and pathogens find an ideal breeding ground. Not correct!

Trust your intuition and you will succeed in pruning the fruit tree even without detailed cut-back drawings. When pruning apples, always keep the fruit grower’s motto in mind: “After pruning a fruit tree, you have to be able to throw a hat through a fruit tree without it getting caught.” Because the fruits need light, air and space to grow and ripen – too dense a fruit tree crown, however, promotes plant diseases and threatens a rich harvest!

Espalier fruit: cut the apple tree

To ensure that every apple is really juicy and beautifully colored, you can pick up scissors 14 days before the apple harvest and cut off individual annual shoots of the fruit trees that put the fruit in the shade. In the case of espalier fruit – whether apple, pear or peach – pruning the fruit tree in summer slows down the growth of the shoots. In the case of espalier fruit, shorten all annual shoots from side buds that do not contribute to the structure of the fruit tree to three or four leaves.

Practical tip: Pillar apples are space-saving and easy to care for – with the right care, pillar apples also produce a rich harvest!

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