10 Recommendations on How to Trim an Apple Tree

In spring it is good to look at the condition of your apple trees and if necessary, maintenance them. Although many have already completed the trim, there are those, who are still just planning to do it.

Öun Drinks has an organic apple garden on Saaremaa which is maintained all year round by Mihkel. We spoke to Mihkel who has inherited his knowledge about what to keep in mind when tending to apple trees from his grandfather and many seminars.

1. Firstly, one should know what kind of tree they are dealing with, because all trees have different branches. For example, some have long and thin branches which gravitate downwards (onion apple) while others have strong branches (Golden Reinette). This determines the correct way of trimming.

2. Secondly it should be thought when the last trim was and how much was cut. This should be considered when deciding the volume of this year’s trim (rejuvenation trim or just a small prune).

3. Pay attention to the trees condition. Apple trees can be damaged by stem cancerAlso find out how the new barks have started to cover the old wounds. Moreover, it should be looked at how well the wounds from the previous trim have healed. More information about what to do when the tree has trim wounds can be found here.

4. During the rejuvenation trim an apple tree is usually cut shorter and sparser. It should be chosen before the trim which larger branches are to be to cut off, because every branch must get some light. A principle of rather sawing off one bigger branch than prune many smaller ones should be followed. 

5. Second year growths usually display buds and offshoots. Buds are usually short and have plumules on top of them. Those should be kept. Offshoots have long new shoots which should be shaped as wished.

6. During trimming it is important to try to direct tree branches in direction you wish the tree to grow during the following years. 

7. Dried and rotten branches should be removed from the older trees. Young trees usually do not have this problem.

8. Every new one year old growth has buds which are looking to grow in different directions. If you want the branch to start producing new growths, you must cut away the existing growths covering buds.

9. Many prefer to trim trees in a way that leaves no branches in the middle. In truth some branches can also be left there, but be sure that all of them get enough light. 

10. With older apple trees you also must remember that if the stem has enough light then the hiding buds will wake up from the stem and create water offshoots. If rejuvenation prune is wanted, then those hiding offshoots are needed to grow new branches.

Now all that is left is to be bold and have a successful trim.

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