Tips for pruning apples in the spring include selecting the right time to prune, using correct pruning methods and choosing the proper pruning tools. Pruning fruit-bearing trees is necessary to allow the tree to continue producing healthy fruit in the expected quantities.
Prune apple trees in the early spring. This ensures that the risk of significant cold weather has passed, but is early enough that the tree has not yet entered its growing season. Avoid pruning during the growing season.
To ensure the tree continues to bear the desired amount of healthy, disease-free apples, use correct pruning methods. Prune limbs that are dead, broken or diseased, suckers and vertical limbs growing from the trunk or other branches, and competing leaders at the top of the tree and limbs that rub or cross other limbs. Remove the limbs at the branch collar to allow the tree to seal off the cut and protect itself from insects and disease.
The proper pruning equipment allows for clean cuts and reduced damage to the tree while making pruning easier. Use hand pruners for smaller branches and twigs, and use long-handled pole pruners for branches and limbs higher up the tree's trunk. Loppers are used for branches with a diameter of 1 inch or greater, and folding saws are required for branches over 3 inches in diameter.