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Now's the time to prune apple trees

February 25, 2021
Unpruned apple tree on an urban farm.
This young apple tree needs some light pruning.

Hello there, fruit growers. We know you’re looking for an excuse to break out your pruning shears for the 2021 gardening season. Good news - it is time to prune your fruit trees! The UMN Extension Horticulture team has you covered with videos and written instructions on how to prune home apple trees.

This 3-part video series shows how to prune your mature apple tree.

Old or overgrown apple trees

Do you have a tree that is overgrown, old or neglected, that hasn't been pruned in a few years? You're not alone. We receive emails from several gardeners each year looking for advice on pruning overgrown apple trees.

In this case, it’s a good idea to go slow. Do not try to severely prune back the whole tree in a single season.

After watching the videos above to understand the goals to work toward, we have more guidance on pruning old or overgrown trees.

New apple trees

If you just planted your apple trees in the last couple of years, your pruning decisions now are important. They will determine the shape that the tree takes, and may influence how soon you get to harvest fruit. However, this should not take you very long, because you will not need to make many cuts.

Find out more about pruning young or newly planted trees.

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension fruit and vegetable production educator

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