When is the best time to prune apple trees?
Late winter or early spring is a great time to prune apples. The plants will soon begin to grow so the wounds close quickly reducing the risk of insect and disease. In addition the worst of winter weather has passed, we hope, so you can correct any winter damage while doing structural pruning. Severely overgrown apples should be pruned over several seasons. Heavily pruned trees often produce an abundance of growth so you end up with even more pruning to do the following year. Start by pruning damaged, diseased or dead branches. Remove crossing and rubbing branches that create wounds that make perfect entryways for insects and disease. Then remove water sprouts (shoots that grow straight up from the branches). Your goal is to have well spaced branches that spiral up the trunk of the tree. This allows light penetration for flower and fruit production.