As part of caring for your apple trees, trimming and removing dead or diseased branches is vital to their health and growth patterns. However, if you enjoy eating the apples that the trees produce, there are a few special considerations of which you should be aware of when trimming fruit trees. Use the tips below to help you trim your apple trees in the winter or early spring before flowers appear.
1. Remove Branches That Are Crossing Another One
While you are trimming away any dead or diseased branches on your apple trees, you may come across a branch that has crossed over another one and is either touching or coming close to touching the other one. If so, one of these branches needs to be trimmed away so they don't rub together.
Apple trees are especially susceptible to disease and rot that could affect their health and ability to produce fruit. If one branch is resting on or hitting another branch, the bark on both branches is in danger of being worn away. If this happens, the affected branches will be open to excess moisture, disease, and insects.
When you do see crossed branches, look for signs of worn bark on both of them. If only one is worn, trim it off and leave the other one. However, if both branches have been affected, you can either take a chance on the least worn one and cut the other one, or you can cut off both branches as a safety precaution. If you are not sure, ask a professional tree trimmer for their guidance.
2. Trim Branches in the Right Place
When you do go to cut off branches, whether they are diseased, dead, or crossed, you need to make sure you cut them at the right location. If only part of a branch is affected, look for an outward facing bud and cut the branch right above it. This bud will produce the new season's growth, so you do not want to trim it off or cut into it.
However, if the entire branch needs to be cut away, follow the branch to the trunk of the tree, and cut it even with the branch collar. Doing so will keep you from harming the trunk of the tree. If you are unsure of where to cut, however, it is better to have a professional do it for you.
Using the above tips can help you trim your apple trees with a minimum of damage while keeping them healthy. However, if you still have questions or are concerned about attempting to cut on the trees yourself, contact a tree trimming service in your area, such as Big Tree Nursery.