How to Prune Untrained Apple Trees

Video transcription

Hi, I'm Charles Boning, author of Florida's Best Fruiting Plants. We're here at Jene's Tropicals, and I want to talk to you a bit about the ways to prune an untrained apple tree. Now, when an apple tree becomes untrained, and grows out of control, several disadvantages result. First, the fruit is virtually impossible to reach. It's high up in the tree, requiring extensive ladders, and so forth. Also, there tends to be a lot of dead wood accumulates in the tree. Third, it's just generally much more difficult to manage. If a tree is well past its prime, and is not one of the better fruiting cultivars, the gardener may want to consider removing the tree, rather than trying to bring it back under control. On the other hand, if it's a valued cultivar, if there's branches on the tree, that are under ten feet high, it may make sense to attempt to save the tree. Now, a shade tree can't be turned into a fruit tree overnight. It should be done gradually, and in stages, usually over the course of two, or better yet, three seasons. The first step is in providing sunlight, opening up the tree to provide sunlight to the center of the tree. The second aspect of it, is then to slowly cull back the top of the tree, until we get it back to a manageable size, and cutting it no more than one third, over each progressive season, so you're not mortally wounding the tree in the process. The gardener should remember, when trying to regain control over large out of control trees, such as an apple tree, the three cut rule. That is, when you're using a chain saw on a large branch, you need to first come in through the bottom, and cut up. Then, you come in from the top, and cut off the major branch. At that point, you go in and make a third cut, cutting off the stump of the branch, flush with the trunk of the tree. That way, there's no possibility of the branch breaking, cracking, and splintering bark from the tree. There's also less chance of an injury to the gardener. That's how to gradually regain control over an apple tree, that's going out of control. I'm Charles Boning.

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