If your apple tree isn't shaped right or isn't producing enough fruit, it's time to consider pruning it. During the late fall months, apple trees go dormant, and the pruning should be done at this time. Here, you'll learn a little about pruning your apple tree to shape it and help boost fruit production.
Remove Damaged and Dead Limbs
The first thing to do is to remove any damaged or dead limbs. Removing the dead and damaged limbs will increase the amount of sunlight and fresh air that the live limbs receive. Look for limbs that are bare – ones that didn't produce any leaves or fruit this year.
To prune the dead limbs properly, make the cut close to the trunk of the tree. Make sure to make the cut the entire way through the limb at an angle. Be careful not to rip the bark when you remove the limb.
Remove Low-Hanging Branches
Branches that are hanging much lower than the others should be removed. This is because they probably weigh more than others and are putting a strain on the trunk of the tree. You want to remove them before they break off of the tree and damage the trunk as they fall to the ground.
Remove the Whips
If you don't know what whips are on your apple tree, they are the small, slender shoots that branch off of the tree. The whips will not grow into productive branches, so it's best to remove them and allow the rest of the tree to receive the nutrients that the whips would have absorbed.
Remove Narrow Crotch Limbs
Limbs with narrow crotches are those limbs that branch off of the tree with a tight upward angle. The ideal angle for optimum strength and health is roughly between 45 and 60 degrees.
Always consider your personal safety first. If you aren't physically capable of climbing and standing on ladders, this is not a task that you should be attempting.
Be sure to wear safety glasses and good work gloves. This isn't too risky of a project, but you do have the potential to get seriously injured if you don't know how to use the equipment properly and if you don't take the proper safety precautions.
If you aren't feeling confident about your ability to take care of your apple trees, contact your local tree removal service. They will help you get your trees shaped and producing more apples than you know what to do with.