Why hard pruning works for apples
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.