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Apple Tree Pruning Manual


Pruning Apple Trees

This booklet is provided, with great thanks, from author Renae Moran. and the University of Maine Co-Op. There have been several modifications to this

publication to better fit this website. A complete version can be acquired through the University Co-Op.

All questions and requests for a physical copy will be directed to University Co-ops

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This booklet has a simple pruning lesson to show you how to prune a semidwarf apple tree, the most

common tree size in Maine’s orchards. It begins with a discussion of why fruit trees should be

pruned annually, and follows with an explanation of tree training or what shape a fruit tree should

have. A detailed description of some pruning principles is included to help you understand some of

the pruning methods that are used. This lesson finishes with a simplified method of pruning and a

step by step description of the steps involved.

Pruning can either improve fruit production or hurt it depending on whether it is done

correctly. Too much pruning can invigorate the tree and inhibit flowering. Too little pruning can

lead to a dense canopy of shaded unproductive branches. Careful pruning requires a knowledge of

what to prune, how much to prune, and the tree’s natural growth habit.

Why Prune Apple Trees?

Pruning correctly improves fruit quality and increases the value of the crop. This is the primary

reason for pruning fruit trees. A pruned tree has more apples with a greater degree of red color

and larger fruit size. As a result, a greater proportion of the crop meets the minimum size and

color requirements for Fancy grades.

Pruned trees are also easier to manage. A pruned tree has a more open canopy allowing sprays

to contact all parts, so better disease control is achieved. A pruned tree is also easier to harvest.

Pruning reduces tree size and the density of the canopy making it easier to reach the fruit.

Apple trees are full sun plants. They need a lot of light to form fruit buds and to set fruit.

Semidwarf trees, because of their large size, can have parts of the canopy that are heavily shaded.

A tree casts a shadow on itself, so part of its canopy can be in full shade. Full shade is bad for

fruit production. Pruning increases flowering and enhances red coloring because it eliminates some

if this shading.

To open File click here

You must have a pdf reader to read the contents of this file-- it is free to download from adobe