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Pruning Overgrown Apple Tree

 
Adam Sawyer
Posts: 3
Location: NC
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Hello everyone,
We just moved to a new(to us) house. There is an apple tree I'd guess 15 - 30 years old. I don't think it has ever been pruned... The branches arch over almost to the ground. I am trying to figure out the best way to prune this tree. When? How much of tree to cut off? etc...

Also, I would like to take some cuttings from it to start a few more trees. When would be the best time to get the cuttings?

Thanks for any help!
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 302
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Can you post some pictures of the tree? It's hard otherwise to give useful pruning advice.

Best time for collecting scion wood is during the dormant season - January/February in the northern hemisphere.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Are you pruning it because you want somewhere to play/hang out without things poking you in the EYE. Or do you want to make the now 35ft tall apple tree a 'regular' 15ft apple tree. Is it not fruiting enough and you want it to fruit?
 
Adam Sawyer
Posts: 3
Location: NC
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S Bengi wrote:Are you pruning it because you want somewhere to play/hang out without things poking you in the EYE. Or do you want to make the now 35ft tall apple tree a 'regular' 15ft apple tree. Is it not fruiting enough and you want it to fruit?


It is fruiting fine. I want to prune it because I think it is going to break in half, or worse. I tied it up this year so that wouldn't happen. I will try to get a picture this evening.
 
Adam Sawyer
Posts: 3
Location: NC
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Here is a picture of the tree.
IMG_20150307_172459_145.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20150307_172459_145.jpg]
Apple tree
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Hau, Adam, I can not see the picture, so will be hard to give advice on how much to prune.

Easiest method of pruning is to start with any crossing branches and remove the weakest one.

Right now we are still in dormant stage so this is where I would start with pruning.
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 302
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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You said "branches are arching over almost to the ground"; and that it is in danger of "breaking in half".

So I think you want to head back the worst branches. Find a point where you have a nice side branch heading upwards and prune back to that. Repeat periodically, as the branch grows and droops again.
 
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