Best Time to Trim Apple Trees

If you have a fruit tree in your yard, chances are it is an apple tree. Not only are their flowers beautiful, but they come in a number of species, sizes and shapes that fit into most types of backyards. However, factors like location and climate should also be considered when determining the best type of apple tree for your landscape. 
While apple tree varieties do differ, they all still require proper pruning to allow air circulation and sunlight for tree health, plus promote fruit production.


When to Trim Your Apple Tree

The optimal time to prune apple trees is when they are in a dormant state, which is in late winter. Early spring works too, especially if you're looking for suitable weather working conditions.
It's important not to prune in the fall. This encourages new growth at a time when the tree should be preparing for winter; any new growth that doesn't harden when the cold arrives can result in tree damage.


Tips for Trimming Your Apple Tree

If trimming a young tree - especially one you transplanted - let the tree establish a solid root system, which typically takes between 1 and 3 years, before trimming aggressively. When you do start to trim, focus on any branches that are dead, diseased or injured, as well as sprouts forming around the trunk.
Once the tree has matured, or if you are trimming a mature tree, start on those areas that, again, are dead, diseased or injured.
Before cutting, start by finding the wrinklier-looking area where the branch in question connects to the trunk. This is known as the branch collar. Do not cut into this area. Always cut above the area where the branch collar spans out. Also, your apple tree should have only one central leading main branch. Having two or more will weaken your tree.
You may also need to trim the fruit itself to encourage tasty, heathy apples and avoid what is known as "crowding.' To do this, thin out the apples so that they are about 6 inches apart from each other on each branch. Choose smaller fruit, letting the larger ones grow.