Crab apples are a beautiful addition to any landscape. But if they’re not properly pruned, they can become overgrown and unsightly.
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Why You Should Prune Crab Apple Trees
Crab apple trees are lovely additions to any yard or garden, with their delicate flowers and colorful fruits. But like all fruit trees, they need to be pruned every year to keep them healthy and promote good fruit production.
Pruning crab apple trees is a bit different than pruning other types of fruit trees, though. Here are some tips on how to prune your crab apple tree for the best results.
1. The best time to prune your crab apple tree is in late winter or early spring, before the tree starts to produce new leaves and flowers.
2. Crab apple trees should be pruned when they are young to promote a strong, healthy structure. As the tree grows, only remove dead or diseased branches.
3. Crab apple trees produce fruit on last year’s growth, so avoid pruning too much in any one year or you will reduce the amount of fruit your tree produces.
4. To promote good air circulation and prevent disease problems, remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
5. Crab apple trees can be prone to fire blight, a bacterial disease that can kill branches and even the entire tree if it is left unchecked. If you see any blackened or dying branches on your crab apple tree, cut them off immediately and dispose of them well away from the tree (fire blight can spread easily from one branch to another).
When to Prune Crab Apple Trees
Crab apple trees are generally pruned in late winter while they are still dormant. However, you may need to do some corrective pruning during the growing season if you notice any dieback or crossing branches.
For the most part, you will want to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches as well as any that are rubbing together. You should also prune out any suckers that are growing from the roots or trunk of the tree. These competing branches can usurp energy from the main branches and cause the tree to become misshapen.
Generally speaking, you should aim to remove about one-third of the overall branch growth each year. This includes both primary and secondary branches. When cutting back primary branches, make your cuts just above a bud that is pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow. For secondary branches, aim to cut them back to about six inches from the main branch.
How to Prune Crab Apple Trees
Crab apple trees are generally easy to care for and require little pruning. However, there are a few things you can do to encourage healthy growth and prevent problems.
The first step is to identify the three main types of crab apple trees:
-Bushes, which have multiple stems arising from the ground
-Standards, which have a single trunk with branches arising from it
-Weavers, which have multiple trunks that are twisted together
Once you know what type of crab apple tree you have, you can prune it accordingly. Bushes and standards should be pruned in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Weavers should be pruned in late spring or early summer, after new growth has begun.
Here are some general guidelines for how to prune crab apple trees:
– remove any dead or diseased branches
– remove any crossing or rubbing branches
– remove any suckers (new shoots that arise from the base of the tree)
– thin out crowded branches to increase air circulation and light penetration
– cut back overlong or wayward branches
What Tools You Will Need to Prune Crab Apple Trees
You will need a few tools to prune crab apple trees, including:
-A saw (if necessary)
Before you begin pruning, make sure all of your tools are sharpened and in good working order. This will make the job easier and help you avoid injuring the tree.
How to Properly Dispose of Crab Apple Tree Clippings
After you have finished trimming your crab apple tree, you need to properly dispose of the clippings. Crab apple tree clippings can harbor diseases and pests that can infect other trees and plants. The best way to dispose of crab apple tree clippings is to rake them up and place them in a roadside green waste bin.