When you purchase a property that has mature apple trees on it, they are not going to require a lot of maintenance on your end. However, if they had been neglected for a while, they are going to require some pruning and special attention. Here are some tips on how to do that:
#1 Prune at the Right Time of the Year
There are a couple of times of year when it is a good idea to prune mature apple trees. The best times are during either the late winter or early spring. At this point in time, apples are not growing on your trees, nor are flowers blooming, making late winter and early spring the best time of the year to prune without interfering with new growth or the production of apples.
The only exception to this rule is if suckers start growing up from your trees or a branch gets damaged. Suckers grow at the base of the tree and look like baby trees growing right next to the primary tree. Suckers, true to their name, pull nutrients away from the main tree as they spring up from the rootstock of your apple tree.
#2 Focus On the Right Branches
When you prune a mature apple tree, you want to make sure that you are focusing on the right branches.
Broken or Damaged Branches
First, you want to prune back any branches that have become broken or damaged over time. That way, you can control when the branch comes off your tree instead of it falling unexpectedly and injuring someone.
Second, you want to cut down crossing limbs. These include any major branches that are crossing over on top of each other. Cutting down one of the limbs will allow the remaining limb room to grow.
Inward Pointing Branches
Third, prune any branches that have a distinct inward trajectory. Branches should grow outward and reach out to the sun. Branches that are growing inward generally will not do well long-term.
Finally, prune any branches that are growing at awkward angles. Branches in the middle of the tree that are growing straight upwards, known as epicormics growth, should be pruned. Prune branches growing straight down or branches growing at any other unconventional angle as well.
Each year, on a well taken care of mature apple tree, there should not be very many of these types of branches to prune. Neglected apple trees may have more of the types of branches described above to prune.
#3 Monitor Growth
Make sure you monitor the overall growth of your apple trees after you prune it.
After trimming your apple tree, air should be able to move more freely through them, reducing the amount of fungal infections your apple tree experiences. If your apple tree continues to experience fungal infections that impede growth, you need to treat the fungal infection and continue to prune the tree properly to promote airflow.
Pay attention when the tree is full of apples for areas where the apples are crammed too closely together. In the late winter, trim the branches in the areas where the apple growth was a little too thick. When apples and blooms are too thick, your tree may not be able to provide the growing apples with the nutrients they need. This can result in apples with a less than desirable taste profile.
Get assistance managing the mature apple trees on your new property from AAA Tree Service. They can assist with pruning your apple trees as well as treating any fungal infections your apple trees may have. With the assistance of AAA Tree Service, you can have healthy apple trees that produce desirable fruit.