Renewal Pruning

Renewal Pruning

I had not known about the correct timing of pruning fruit trees. We have one apple tree we discovered on our land. It is old and over-grown and seems to be dying and yet there were still leaves and three blossoms last year so I had intended to take it down quite a way and see if it would make any sort of comeback (never got around to doing so, though). There was one apple that I was waiting to ripen but it went missing. As part of the open area of our land was along a “deer highway” I imagine that a visitor plucked the fruit and ate it!

I have been looking forward to responding. Pruning without seeing or doing it my self, I need to make sure I am thorough.

This is what is known as “renewal pruning” you need to allow 3 years to accomplish this. You can only take 1/3 of a tree at a time and timing is critical. We are talking about an old apple tree. I love old trees we have a 100 yr old oak in mine.

You want to catch it before it buds out. You are further North so it should be fine to tackle your first pruning.

Check for bird nests, Owls love nesting in dead wood at the top of the tree in hollows. This is also a consideration when you prune. I have seen an old apple tree half dead and produced bushels of apples.

Remove suckers and sprouts first. I would use a sharp hand bypass pruner and or loppers (mine is nicknamed Cindy) I carry a sharpening stone, 3 in 1 oil & rubbing alcohol in my bag. Suckers grow on the ground around the trunk. sprouts are small vertical shoots on the main branches. Cut at an angle fairly close to the branch but not flush.

Next, step back and choose, damaged, diseased, or crossing branches. Keep the 1/3 in mine you may choose large branches that will need a saw. I use a bow saw and a pruning saw. One branch could be 1/3rd perhaps. Cut about 1/4″ above a chosen bud at an angle.

Clean up all the debris and dispose of it. Burn any diseased debris.

Clean your tools with the rubbing alcohol. Give beneath the tree 6” from the trunk to the drip line, top soil, compost and or manure. It may be a treasure!

Keep me posted. Sandy

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