Why hard prun­ing works for ap­ples

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In The Home Orchard -

I CAN HEAR some of you cry­ing in dis­may “Oh, but that’s so dras­tic, and now your tree is only tiny!”

But here’s what you need to re­mem­ber: ap­ples are from the rose fam­ily and you prob­a­bly know, the harder you prune roses, the bet­ter they flower. I’m not say­ing you should chain­saw ev­ery branch to a stump, although that will in­vig­o­rate a scungy old tree and get it blos­som­ing from new branches af­ter two years.

Prun­ing ap­ple trees is about con­cen­trat­ing the amount of food and energy avail­able in the tree into grow­ing blos­som and fruit, rather than pro­duc­ing too many branches and leaves. An over­grown, un­pruned tree can of­ten end up as all wood and shady fo­liage, with a few ap­ples way up the tree, only har­vestable by he­li­copter or microlight.

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