Pruning and Releasing Apple trees

Pruning Strategies
Prune out any dead or diseased limbs. Then begin to remove competing branches that cross or crowd on another. Remove branches that go straight up. Branches that have a slight upward angle are best to leave. When you are finished the canopy should appear thinned out with no dense cluster of branches.

~ Do the pruning while the tree is dormant. It is best to wait until March or April, or until the chance of severe weather is over. Make sure to finish the job before the tree begins to grow. Pruning apple trees during their growth cycle will stunt the growth and apple production.
~ Make sure you have the right tools for the job. It is easier to make a few large cuts than to make lots of small cuts.
~ Remove about a third of the excess limbs each year for three years. (It took more than one-year for the tree to become overgrown. It will take a few years for them to be pruned back into form)

Releasing Apple Trees
~ Carefully remove dead branches and diseased wood in the trunk. Also look for the presence of more than one stem. If more than one stem is present, select the largest and most vigorous and remove all other stems. If the largest stem is broken or diseased select the next largest stem for improvement.

~ Remove all other brush and trees back to the drip line (under the outermost branches of the tree) Remove large trees especially toward the south. Direct sunlight is needed for a healthy tree.

~ Follow the above pruning guidelines.

~ After having the soil tested, apply the recommended fertilizer in a narrow band around the tree directly below the drip line. Fertilizer can also be poured into holes eight inches deep, created by a heavy bar, under the drip edge. Use Nitrogen (N) with caution to prevent excess growth, unless the tree is nearly dead.

Article provided by the Quality Deer
Mangement Association www.qdma.com

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