How to Prune an Overgrown Apple Tree

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Many people think that pruning an overgrown apple tree is a difficult task, but it is actually quite easy. By following these simple steps, you can have your tree looking great in no time!

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Reasons for pruning an overgrown apple tree

An overgrown apple tree can pose many problems. It can be difficult to harvest the apples, the branches may be too close together and not get enough sunlight, and the tree may be too tall and difficult to manage. Pruning an overgrown apple tree can help to address these problems and make the tree healthier and more manageable.

To improve the quality and quantity of the fruit

One of the main reasons to prune an overgrown apple tree is to enhance the amount and quality of fruit produced. An untrimmed apple tree can produce a large quantity of small, poorly shaped apples.

When pruning to improve fruit production, remove any dead, diseased or damaged wood first. Next, thin out overcrowded areas of the tree by removing some of the smaller branches. This will increase air circulation and allow more sunlight to reach the apples. Finally, cut back any remaining branches by one-third to one-half their length.

To make the tree easier to manage

One of the reasons you might prune an overgrown apple tree is to make the tree easier to manage. An overgrown apple tree can be difficult to spray, difficult to pick the fruit from, and just generally more work than a smaller tree. If you have an overgrown apple tree, you can bring it back under control by pruning it.

To improve the tree’s health and vigor

An apple tree that is overgrown and has not been properly pruned is likely to be less vigorous and productive than one that has. By pruning an overgrown apple tree, you can improve its health and vigor, as well as its appearance.

Pruning also helps to encourage the growth of new shoots, which can produce more fruit. It can also help to control the size of the tree, making it easier to manage.

Overgrown apple trees can be difficult to prune without the proper tools and knowledge. If you are not confident in your ability to prune an overgrown apple tree, it is best to seek professional help.

When to prune an overgrown apple tree

Pruning an overgrown apple tree can be done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. You will want to prune the tree when it is dormant. This will help the tree to recover from the pruning and will also help to promote new growth.

Late winter or early spring

Apple trees need to be pruned every year to remove dead or diseased wood, increase air circulation and promote fruiting. You can prune your tree any time of year, but late winter or early spring is best. This is because the tree is dormant and won’t bleed sap if you make a cut.

Here’s how to prune an overgrown apple tree:

Step 1: Remove any dead or diseased wood. Cut it back to the point where it branches off from the main trunk. Sterilize your pruning shears between cuts by dipping them in rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Cut back any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. This will promote air circulation and prevent disease.

Step 3: Prune out any suckers that are growing from the base of the tree or from the roots. These will compete with the main branches for nutrients and should be removed.

Step 4: Cut back any shoots that are growing from the center of the tree. These are called “water sprouts” and they crowd out fruit-bearing branches.

Step 5: Thin out fruit-bearing branches if they are crowded or overlapping. This will increase air circulation and prevent disease. It will also reduce the number of apples per branch, but each apple will be larger in size.

By following these steps, you can effectively prune an overgrown apple tree and encourage new growth and fruit production.

How to prune an overgrown apple tree

Pruning is a horticultural and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots.

Select the main scaffold branches

The first step in pruning an overgrown apple tree is to choose the main scaffold branches. These should be evenly spaced around the trunk of the tree, and they should be strong enough to support the weight of the fruit. Once you have selected the main scaffold branches, you will need to remove all of the other branches that are growing from the trunk.

Remove crossing, rubbing, and weak branches

1.Start by removing crossing, rubbing, and weak branches. These are the places where two branches are growing too close together and rubbing against each other, or a branch is growing at an odd angle and crossing another branch. These places are weak spots in the tree that are more likely to break during a storm or when bearing heavy fruit.

2. Next, cut away any branches that are growing straight up or straight down. These branches aren’t doing anything to help the tree grow in a strong, balanced way.

3. Finally, cut away any branches that are longer than the others. You want all of the branches to be about the same length so that the tree looks balanced and neat

Remove suckers and water sprouts

To keep your apple tree healthy and productive, you need to remove suckers and water sprouts. Suckers are shoots that grow from the roots or lower trunk of the tree. Water sprouts are fast-growing shoots that grow from the upper branches of the tree. Both suckers and water sprouts compete with the apple tree for nutrients and sunlight, which can weaken the tree and reduce fruit production.

Cut back the remaining branches

Overgrown apple trees are a common problem in home landscapes. Most apple trees are planted too closely together, which causes them to grow into each other and become entangled. In addition, many apple varieties are very vigorous growers and can quickly become over-mature if not pruned properly. The following instructions will show you how to prune an overgrown apple tree.

Cut back the remaining branches
Once you have removed the major branches, you will need to cut back the remaining branches. This will help to encourage new growth and keep the tree from becoming over-mature. Start by pruning away any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. Then, remove any branches that are growing inwards towards the center of the tree. Finally, cut back any branches that are longer than 2/3 of the average branch length.

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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