How to Prune a Young Apple Tree

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Pruning a young apple tree is an important step in ensuring that the tree will produce healthy fruit for years to come. By following these simple tips, you can keep your tree healthy and looking its best.

How to Prune a Young Apple TreeCheckout this video:

Why prune a young apple tree?

The primary reasons to prune a young apple tree are to:
-encourage strong, vigorous growth
-promote fruiting earlier in the tree’s life
-provide a more open structure that allows sunlight and air circulation to reach all parts of the tree, reduces the risk of disease, and makes harvesting fruit easier

When pruning a young apple tree, it is important to:
-remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood
-remove any crossing or rubbing branches
-cut back any branches that are growing vertically instead of outward at a 45 degree angle
-cut back any branch that is longer than half the length of the shortest branch

When to prune a young apple tree?

Pruning a young apple tree when it is first planted is important to ensure its proper development and future fruit production. It is best to prune young apple trees in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

There are two main types of pruning that can be done on young apple trees: formative pruning and fruit production pruning. Formative pruning is done when the tree is first planted and for the first few years of its life. This type of pruning helps to shape the tree’s overall form and structure. Fruit production pruning is done once the tree begins to produce fruit, and is intended to optimize fruit production and quality.

Both formative and fruit production pruning should be done with sharp, clean

How to prune a young apple tree?

Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Pruning often takes place in order to improve the health or appearance of the plant.

What tools will you need?

Pruning shears
A pruning saw
A stepladder
Pruning a young apple tree is important to promote fruit production and prevent damage to the tree. Trees should be pruned when they are dormant, in late winter or early spring. With the proper tools and techniques, you can prune a young apple tree yourself.

What tools will you need?
Pruning shears: Also called hand pruners, pruning shears are small, handheld scissors used to cut small branches.
A pruning saw: A pruning saw is a small handsaw with a very sharp blade. It is used to cut branches that are too thick for pruning shears.
A stepladder: A stepladder is needed to reach the higher branches of the tree.

How to Prune a Young Apple Tree

How to make the cuts?

When pruning a young apple tree, the main objective is to create a strong central leader with evenly spaced scaffold branches. The central leader is the main vertical stem coming up from the trunk of the tree. Scaffold branches are the horizontal branches that radiate out from the central leader.

To promote a strong central leader, make sure to make your cuts just above a bud that is pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow. When pruning scaffold branches, make sure to cut them back to about 12-18 inches from the trunk of the tree. This will encourage new growth and help create evenly spaced scaffold branches.


In conclusion, pruning a young apple tree is a crucial step in its development. By removing excess and unwanted growth, you allow the tree to focus its energy on producing strong, healthy fruit. With the proper care and attention, your young apple tree will provide you with years of delicious fruit!

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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