When is the ideal time to prune apple trees? We will discuss the most suitable time of the year to trim this species of tree.
If you have apple trees around, the need for trimming such trees won’t be news. This is one of the necessary maintenance practices to carry out each year. However, not everyone seems to know the best time of year to trim their apple trees.
We assume you’re reading this article right now because you seek to find answers to the question of when to trim.
Luckily, that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing here. As you read on, your answers should be satisfactorily answered.
We’ll be including other relevant information on apple tree maintenance too! That should help out with making your search more comprehensive and enjoyable.
Benefits Of Trimming Apple Trees
It’s a fact that apple trees need to be maintained or trimmed for a variety of reasons. Each of these reasons is beneficial to the health of the tree as well as to its yield.
One of the most important benefits of trimming is to help eliminate damaged or diseased limbs. The longer these are left unattended, the more danger such limbs pose to the overall health of the apple tree.
Appletree trimming is also aimed at ensuring that the tree maintains a certain height. This is necessary for easy reach and harvest of fruits. An apple tree left unattended to (or without trimming) grows out of reach and becomes more stressful to either maintain or harvest its fruits.
Healthy and bumper fruit (apple) harvests also depends on the structure of the apple tree. By structure, we’re simply referring to a strong build that is balanced and able to bear the weight of its fruits. Trimming is also carried out to encourage the calculated growth of more limbs. The more the limbs, the more fruits are produced.
The shape of an apple tree counts. How? It encourages the production of more flowers during the budding season. The number of budding flowers produced, the better its fruiting condition. During treatment for pests, a well-trimmed apple tree allows for greater penetration or coverage of spray.
Air and sunlight also reach all parts of the apple tree much better. Trimming your apple trees will help increase the size and quality of fruits as well as the tree’s overall health. Pruning your apple tree will encourage vegetative growth. When done rightly, new limbs begin to sprout, translating to increased fruit production.
Enough of the benefits already! Let’s shift our focus to the main point of our discussion; When to trim apple trees.
When To Trim Apple Trees
Does this topic seem a bit vague to you? If it does, a little adjustment might make more sense. By “when,” we are referring to the best time of year to trim your apple trees. Having provided a better explanation, is there a better time to trim your fruit trees? There is and you’ll soon find out.
A lot of times, people time the trimming of their apple trees wrongly. The fact that such trees can be trimmed all year round doesn’t make it right. Certain periods are more ideal than others. The best time of year to trim your apple trees is between late winter and early spring. That is, between March and April.
Trimming at this time of year is due to several reasons. One of the most significant reasons has to do with dormancy. At this time, the apple tree is dormant or under hibernation. That means there are no leaves on the tree. You get a better view of its entire structure and limbs and can easily find or locate those which must be cut back or trimmed off. Thus helping you make a better judgment.
Understanding Its Fruiting Cycle
Having stated the right time to trim apple trees, you’ll also need an understanding of its fruiting cycle. This helps with picking the branches or limbs to trim off. Typically, older branches are targeted. These are pruned off because in most cases, they are spent or have fruited for over three to five years.
Matured fruiting apple trees have an abundance of such spent or older branches (limbs). Such older branches need to give way for new growth. As such, these should be targeted and pruned off.
Wrong Time To Trim Apple Trees
If you’ve been trimming your apple trees wrongly, chances are that you’ve exposed such trees to stress as well as diseases and pests. Less ideal times to prune an apple tree include summertime and fall. These seasons harbor and encourage diseases and pests more.
Your apple tree could get damaged by pests in addition to being infected with diseases. This is a situation you want to avoid totally. What more? Trimming apple trees during summer or fall won’t allow enough time for new growth to fully form and harden. This results in the new limb dying off due to winter frost.
How To Trim Apple Trees
The “how” of trimming apple trees is as important as knowing when to do it. Several things need to be taken into consideration before proceeding. The distance of the lateral branch from the central branch is important. Also, knowing whether to shorten limbs or take them down entirely is vital.
The angle is also essential in addition to leaving water sprouts. Thinning cuts should be beyond the base of a targeted limb or branch. Heading cuts should only be made beyond the buds. You should check for branches which seem to grow downward. These should be found and trimmed off.
Find whorls and select the best by trimming those which aren’t as good. Suckers or water sprouts act as leaches. They feed on tree nutrients, denying developing fruits adequate nutrients. These should be found and trimmed off.
The best way to get the job done if you think you’re inexperienced is to get expert help. An arborist or arboriculturist is skilled in providing expert trimming services.
Having read to this point, picking the right time to trim your apple trees shouldn’t be an impossible task. You can move forward by making informed decisions that end up serving your best interest in addition to improving the health of your apple trees.