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Apple tree pruning
Pruning a tree is not necessary. In fact plants in nature do not need human intervention, they grow and fruits grow in the same way.
Pruning must be done if the plant is in particular critical and irremediable conditions or to contain the size of the plant, or to increase the production of fruits and flowers.
It must however be said that, above all, in the case of fruit plants, intervening with pruning operations is important to maintain the best shape of the plant and to have greater ease in harvesting the fruit.
How to prune an apple tree naturally
Therefore, if you are a beginner, this pruning technique is undoubtedly the one to adopt, for you and for the plant. In fact, it will serve to give the look we want to the plant, while leaving it in a very natural way, helping the circulation of air and light that must not only shine on the plant but also penetrate inside the foliage.
This technique involves the removal of the complete branches, therefore already formed. To cut a branch you must not break it or cut it in half, but the clean cut must be made where there is a branch bifurcation. Pieces or stumps should not be left. Pay close attention to the structure of the apple tree, eliminate suckers or suckers.
When you go to eliminate the branches it is opportune to do it with criterion, the plant must however remain beautiful and harmonious, therefore eliminated the dry or broken branches, also those crooked, finally those too close together.
If you want to be precise, you will be able to calculate a certain symmetry of the plant and based on that you can orient yourself, otherwise, you can simply eliminate the branches, based on when previously said.
How to cut
To cut a good branch, but which must be eliminated because the crown of the tree is too excessive, a particular technique must be used, eliminating the branches in correspondence with the attachment of the smallest branch. In doing so, the flow of the sap inside the plant is not interrupted, and the necessary branches are not cut, at the same time the hair is thinned out and will allow other few interventions.
Therefore, to apply this rule, eliminate the longest and heaviest branch at the point where it meets the smallest branch.
This technique, which is opposed to the widespread topping, is actually better. In fact, while that is used only to contain the size of the plant, it certainly does not pay attention to the functionality of the same or to its possibility of development, the technique described above thinning the plant taking into account its need.
With the topping the plant is affected in its form and for this it takes years before it can return to its normal dimensions. It is a trauma and therefore it is not right to damage the plant.
There apple tree pruning however, it should not be done together, it is only in the years that the desired shape will be given to it.
Do not use your hands to cut, you must use specific scissors, lopping shears. The cut must be clean, the branch must not have stumps, sharp areas or other. The tools therefore must be of excellent quality and above all well sharpened, also because where the cut is not clean, the plant is likely to cause microorganisms capable of damaging it even totally. When you have finished, disinfect the remaining surface with 5% copper sulfate or propolis tincture and then cover that part with synthetic bark.
There are also other very useful disinfection products on the market, and they allow you to do everything in a single moment.
Synthetic barks are very useful and can be applied with a brush or spatula.
Among the tools to be used we have:
- tow stand
These tools are fundamental and irreplaceable, so we invite you not to perform DIY techniques that are dangerous for the apple tree (or other plants) but also for yourself.
Remember of course that not all plants need to be pruned, also because some plants where a drastic pruning is applied enter a state of deterioration. In the case of the apple tree, pruning can be done, even by inexperienced people, but we must be careful and eliminate all the possible drawbacks to its growth.
Some species bloom or bear fruit right on the branches, therefore, keep in mind that when you prune a plant, there will be no growth on the branch you are going to attack.
However, the drastic shortening of the branches creates an imbalance in the plant, so be careful.
If you have particular plants pruning must take place in two times, first use a natural pruning system like the one explained above, eliminating the dry twigs, those in excess etc., then go to shorten the more internal branches, but cutting them a little at a time.
Apple tree pruning
In addition to shape pruning, which is very useful and interesting to keep our apple trees tidy, it is very important to know how to properly perform production pruning. However, before understanding how to do this pruning there is a very delicate thing to face and to fully understand if you want to prune the apple tree correctly. First of all we will have to understand well which are the productive buds of our plant to be able to recognize and leave them on the branches. These buds, called flower buds, are recognizable because they are very small buds that unlike the others produce one or two buds and a corymb of 5-10 flowers once mature.
At the time of pruning, it is possible to recognize flower-like gems because they are rounder and thicker than other gems, those called "wood", which are smaller and thinner than the first. In the apple tree the flower buds are on the branches that are at least 2 years old and are usually formed at the point where the previous year there was a fruit or in the small branches formed by more bulges. However, it may be that sometimes flower buds are found even on branches of only one particularly vigorous year.
When to prune the apple tree
Regarding the production pruning in the apple tree, the ideal period to carry out this operation is the vegetative rest before the plant begins to sprout and usually means from late November to late February / early March depending on the area. When it is very cold and the temperatures are below freezing it is not advisable to cut for possible frost damage that may occur and it is better to wait for the temperatures to rise before intervening.
In production pruning, as in other prunings, the suckers and all the larger branches that can alter the basic structure of the plant must be eliminated. As for the fruit branches we will try instead to favor the branches that have many flower buds and that develop rather horizontally, while the branches that grow vertically and have few buds, if there are better branches, will be eliminated.
Pruning will be performed more or less intensely depending on the vigor of the plant. Strong apple trees with branches in good condition and with a general appearance of good health should be trimmed little. Apple trees with shabby and weak branches will need to be pruned at least one third in order to stimulate the plant to react through the cut.