How to Prune Dwarf Apple Trees

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Pruning dwarf apple trees is similar to pruning larger apple trees, but these grow out rather than up and require trimming about one-third of the lengthy branches each year. Encourage more fruit production from a dwarf apple tree with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.

Part of the Video Series: Gardening: Pruning
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to prune dwarf apple trees. Now dwarf apple trees are just like large apple trees except they don't get as tall, but they can still grow very lengthy and they won't produce as much fruit unless you really prune them every year. And the trick to pruning is to only prune about one third of the tree back at one time. And in that way it'll grow very lush and you get lots more fruit the next year. So when you're pruning any kind of fruit tree, the goal is to cut out a lot of the random branches towards the top of the tree because those are usually the more fruity branches that's going to produce the more fruit and you want to thin it out about one third the size each year. And that way it won't just get tall and lanky and it'll fill up and you'll get a lot more fruit quicker. And so just by cutting out through the lighter colored branches you can get a lot more fruit and you just trim them out and even it out so there's more sun that gets in to the middle branches and the tree will do much better. If you have a fruit tree that's been established and it's really tall and not producing fruit and you have not pruned it very much, then you can actually cut out some of the top branches and what you're making is called a vase cut. By doing that you're forcing most of the growth back down to the bottom part of the tree and you'll get a lot more fruit for the next year. So when you're pruning any type of a tree you want to be really careful to cut it at the right angle. For example if it's a large branch you want to cut first at one side and then the other side and then you're cutting that whole heavy branch off. Because if you just cut from one angle it might actually hurt some of the bark and get in to the main trunk. And you never want to hurt the main trunk because you will lose a tree if it gets too damaged. And you don't want to cut it out too far out either where the C D cut is, because what happens is then it gets too much moisture and it'll rot and there's too much dead material. You want to cut it right at a little bit of an angle leaving one to two inches right at where the tree is meeting with the main trunk. Same thing, you never want to cut right up to the trunk line and make a solid cut because what happens is the tree gets very damaged and sometimes it will eventually kill the tree because it doesn't have bark to protect the main trunk and that is what's needed. So by just following some simple pruning rules you will find that your miniature or a small apple tree will produce a lot more fruit the next year because it's getting a lot more sun and it's not sending so much energy out to support some of the lengthy and smaller branches. You just have main branches that will produce lots of fruit for you.

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