[NAFEX] Can I lightly prune my apple trees now that they are leafing out?

Karen Tillou arboretum at homeorchardsociety.org
Fri Apr 18 12:03:40 EDT 2008


i would say yes to betsy and kelly - some light touch up pruning, a  
twig here, a small branch there, will never go amiss anytime, even  
sundays.  after all my winter pruning is done, and i start mowing in  
the spring, i am always touching up as i go by on the mower - usually  
removing low growths and hangers that are trying to stab my eyes out  
as i drive by - and as the fruit starts to weigh down branches into  
awful configurations of droop and about-to-break.
as for your main pruning, kelly, i'd steer clear of bud break and  
bloom and fruit set (spring) for a couple reasons: it is really easy  
to knock around the fragile buds and fruitlets when pruning, and it's  
also a period of strong root growth, which is adversely effected by  
above ground pruning at the same time.  ditto about the root growth  
for fall pruning, sept through nov.
the best times are when the tree is dormant for pruning to invigorate  
the tree, young trees, encouraging branching, etc. dormant (visually)  
means no leaves, and tight buds that aren't starting to swell.   
(though i am certainly guilty of pruning late winter as buds start to  
swell and break... we probably all are.)
summer pruning is good for controlling the size of a vigorous tree,  
for encouraging the formation of fruiting wood.  it's harder though,  
with all the leaves and fruit in the way, to see the structure of the  
tree and know what you want to remove. summer timing is maybe june- 
july, a little into august.  it's certainly the best time to remove  
all those unwanted new water shoots and suckers off the trunk and top  
if nothing else.
good luck, and enjoy it.
karen

oregon city, OR - zone 8a and wet





On Apr 18, 2008, at 7:43 AM, kelly at theravenrocks.com wrote:

> I have the same question, but would broaden it to: Is there any  
> time(s) when I should NOT prune apple trees? I've been told by an  
> elderly relative that Sundays is the only time when apple trees  
> should not be pruned. I'm in the North Carolina mountains.
>
> Kelly Coffey
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hilborn.E at epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Hilborn.E at epamail.epa.gov]
> Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 10:12 AM
> To: 'North American Fruit Explorers'
> Subject: [NAFEX] Can I lightly prune my apple trees now that they  
> are leafing out?
>
> I dutifully performed my dormant pruning however, some of the buds I  
> identified as flower buds were only large terminal leaf buds. Now  
> that they are leafing out/blooming I see where I made mistakes. I am  
> training these dwarf trees as oblique cordons, so I hate to leave  
> longish laterals if they are not producing fruit. Is it OK to prune  
> these laterals back 6-8 inches or so now? Thanks! Betsy Hilborn 7a  
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