The Do's And Don'Ts Of Apple Tree Trimming
Apple trees are wonderful additions to any yard because they provide not only beauty but also an abundant source of food that you can enjoy for as long as your tree thrives. But in order to get the best fruit your tree can provide, the tree needs to be trimmed and pruned properly. If you're intimidated by trimming or are physically unable to do it, a professional can do the job for you. Here are a few of the do's and don'ts of apple tree trimming that you should know.
Use the Right Tools
The best tools to have on hand and the ones that a professional tree trimmer use are handheld pruners, loppers, and pruning saws. Pruners are great for removing small unnecessary shoots and branches. Loppers work wonders on mid-size branches. Hand saws are great for larger branches. Pole saws can help you cut hard to reach branches without the need for precarious ladders.
Cut At The Right Time
The best time to trim your apple or to call a professional trimming service is in late winter to early spring before new growth begins to sprout. Cutting during this time is also beneficial because without leaves, you can more easily see what needs trimming.
One goal in regular pruning is to control the height of the tree so that it doesn't get so tall that it becomes difficult to reach the fruit. Cutting water sprouts, the branches that grow vertically from horizontal branches, is a good way to control height growth.
Even if you see a professional tree trimmer using a chainsaw to prune an apple tree, it doesn't mean that you should. Professionals have years of experience with chainsaws, a skill that requires a lot of practice to master. In most cases, a homeowner may end up doing more damage than good.
Cut Too Much
Once you get into a groove, it's easy to chop too much off the tree. Resist the temptation. Focus on clearing crowded areas and removing damaged limbs. Prune upward growing interior water sprouts. Step back and look at your work frequently. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to step back and look at the tree without immediately spotting the trimming. Don't cut more than about 20% of the canopy each year.
Cut Off Big Branches
If you cut off big established branches, these areas risk going to rot if you leave stubs, especially with older trees. Stick to newer growth. If you're new to pruning and you think big cuts need to be made, consult a professional tree trimming service—such as AC Horticultural Management Inc.—first.