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There pruning apple tree it is a particularly important operation, which will allow your apples grown at home to guarantee a good harvest. But when is the best time to make the apple tree pruning? And what is good to know about this business?
Pruning the apple tree
Let's start by remembering that the best time to prune apple trees is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.
In fact, the tree assumes a state of "quiescence" after losing its leaves and before sprouting new shoots, and the pruning completed just before the start of growth in spring is certainly the ideal strategy, since the cuts will heal quickly. On the other hand, the cuts made at the beginning of winter will remain open and unprotected until growth resumes at the end of March, creating a possible entry point for diseases that - we are sure! - you will want to avoid.
There apple tree pruning It may seem like a complicated process that may put off some people, but it's actually relatively simple once you learn the basics.
Let's try to find out more, then refer you to an expert for more information.
Why should the apple tree be pruned?
There are 3 main reasons on the because you have to prune the apple tree:
- improve the basic structure of the tree, making it easier to maintain;
- remove dead, diseased or damaged wood, and keep the tree healthy;
- allow sunlight to access the ripening fruit.
Do not you believe it?
Have you noticed that the best fruits of trees are usually placed on top of the tree?
And it's not a coincidence, nor a way to make your collection harder!
Much more simply, it is all due to the fact that this part of the tree receives most of the sunlight. And it is obviously useful to always keep in mind the purpose of pruning when deciding which branches to cut, because with pruning we are not only intervening to rebalance the aesthetics of the tree, but we are shaping it for optimal fruiting.
Read also: How to grow medlars
Pruning of apple tree shapes
As we said, one of the main purposes of pruning is to bring more sunlight to the fruit and ... this can be done with different pruning methods:
- conical shape,
- rounded shaft,
- vase shape.
Of course, it is there conical shape to ensure maximum yield, so much so that it is the most common form, and it is this form that we will discuss in this study. However, keep in mind that the same practices apply to all shapes!
Identify the growth and flower buds
Once you have identified the shape of the tree, proceed to identify the buds. A growing bud produces a branch but not a fruit, while a flowering bud will produce a flower that will ripen into an apple. So try to prune over the growth buds, to give shape to the tree, and prune the flower buds to adjust the yield of the tree.
Remember that growth buds are much smaller than flower buds, and they grow close to the branch or stem. They are thin and more pointed and look more scaly than fluffy.
Flower buds are larger and more plump than growth buds and have a fluffy surface. You will more easily recognize the difference between growth buds and flower buds by November, with the latter growing mostly on short, stubby branches, where the fruit will be produced.
Pruning above the growth buds allows you to control the growth of the tree by choosing a bud facing the direction in which you want the new growth to go. Pruning over a shoot facing the inside of the tree will cause the shoot to grow inwards, while a shoot facing outwards will produce a shoot facing outwards. Therefore, if we are creating an open tree with a lot of sunlight on the fruits, we would like to prune above the shoots facing outwards to produce beautiful branches that expand outwards.
There are two types of pruning cuts: thinning cuts and head cuts.
Regarding i thinning cuts, it is good to proceed with cuts that remove entire branches, removing them up to the point of origin, where they meet another branch. The thinning opens the inside of the tree to receive more sunlight and channels the energy into the remaining branches. The thinning cut is the preferred type of cut for pruning apple trees.
THE head cuts instead they are done anywhere along the length of a branch to produce more vigorous growth below the cut. This growth is often weakly attached, however, with tight angles forming between the original branch and the new growth. Head cuts are necessary when pruning young trees, while mature trees rarely need many new branches. It follows that head cuts are made less frequently as the tree ages.
So far, some basic concepts of apple tree pruning. Of course, before proceeding to carry out this activity, our suggestion can only be to talk about it with an expert gardener, who can help you analyze your tree and, consequently, try to understand what is best to do in order to maximize the yield of your garden tree for next season!