Autumn pruning of an apple tree
Autumn is a good time to prune apple trees, but not all beginner gardeners have an idea of when and how to prune trees. There are a lot of questions — this article will help you get answers to them, which will tell you about all the nuances of pruning apple trees in the fall for beginners.
Apple trees: we carry out autumn pruning according to all the rules
Why do you need pruning apple trees? Without this procedure, the trees will not bear fruit? It’s time to find out — when and why to cut and do it right.
You can prune apple trees in autumn or spring, but for beginners, we will step by step analyze the work algorithm in autumn.
Autumn pruning has a number of significant advantages, allowing you to prepare the tree for the next fruiting in accordance with all the rules.
By September, the intensity of work on the garden plot decreases slightly, the weather conditions become more comfortable, so pruning old apple trees in the fall will not take much time and effort. For beginner gardeners, it is useful to find out all the advantages of this operation:
- Removing weakened branches — over the summer, gardeners notice problems in the crown when examining fruit trees. While the crop is ripening, the tree is not recommended to be cut, but in the fall all problematic shoots can be removed without hindrance. Before frost, the branches of the apple tree will have time to cope with stress, and the wound surfaces will heal perfectly.
- Sanitary pruning — after harvesting, broken branches may appear in the crown, which should be cut before the onset of frost, otherwise the plant may be infected with pathogenic fungi through wounds. It is impossible to leave trees with damage in the crown for the winter.
- Forming pruning of apple trees in September — this procedure will help to form the crown correctly, which will have a beneficial effect on the harvest in the next season.
It is also very important to remove diseased and dried branches from trees, because eggs and pupae of pests can remain under their bark. After pruning, such branches are best burned.
But there are also disadvantages. If you start pruning pome trees in late autumn, then the cuts do not overgrow well, and with the onset of frost, the crown can get frostbite.
In cool weather, garden var does not isolate wounds on branches well, so other preparations must be used.
How to prune an apple tree in autumn: tips for beginners
Pruning of mature trees, columnar varieties and young seedlings is somewhat different, but there are general requirements for pruning trees in an apple orchard.
Important! In the production of autumn pruning of pome trees, including apple trees, it is necessary to use a clean, sharp tool. Prepare in advance knives, scissors, loppers, pruners, saw.
In addition to the tool, it is very important to prepare cut protection products before cutting. Immediately after filing the knots and shoots, the cuts are cauterized for disinfection with 3% copper sulphate, 3% Bordeaux liquid, 2% ferrous sulfate. If these drugs are not at hand, you can use a solution of potassium permanganate in a rich crimson color. After applying disinfectants to the wounds, they are allowed to dry thoroughly, and then sealants are applied to protect them from dirt and water.
Apple trees in autumn after pruning are protected with various preparations, for beginners, ordinary garden pitch is suitable — this is a classic version of a sealant to prevent contamination of wounds. In addition to the var, you can use a clay mash, cement mortar and other means.
The order of processing saw cuts directly depends on the diameter of the branch:
- Less than 1 cm — such branches do not need processing.
- Less than 2.5 cm — only disinfection is carried out.
- More than 3 cm — disinfection is carried out, followed by treatment with sealants.
Another important aspect that guarantees successful pruning is dry weather.
Pruning old apple trees
The old apple orchard is recommended to be updated and inspected periodically. If the trees have lost their shape, their crown is overgrown, then it is recommended to cut them in the autumn months. Autumn pruning of apple trees growing in the garden for more than 5 years is rejuvenating.
Important! You should not try to rejuvenate an old apple orchard at a time, and you will harm the trees and spend a lot of energy.
Carry out the rejuvenation of trees in several stages, this may take from 2 to 3 years, but as a result, the apple trees will take on an attractive appearance, and the yield will increase. Pruning scheme for old apple trees in autumn:
- 1 year — all diseased and broken branches are removed from the tree, the trunk is inspected, if necessary, the hollows are cleaned and closed, moss and lichen are cleaned from the bark.
- 2 years — they plan to remove the tops (up to 10 pieces can be left on the plant). Intertwined branches are cut out in the crown, shoots growing inward are removed.
- 3 year — new tiers are formed, leaving 3-4 skeletal branches in each, which grow to the main trunk at 90 degrees. The central trunk is shortened to 3.5 meters above the soil level. The height of the tier is from 50 to 60 cm. No shoots are left between the tiers.
This pruning can be done on old trees that have healthy wood. Rotten trunks should not be renewed — such a tree is recommended to be disposed of.
Pruning young apple trees
Until the fifth anniversary of the apple tree is considered to be young. Such trees are pruned in order to give the crown a certain shape, which is then maintained throughout life. The shape of the crown is chosen based on the natural data of the tree, it can be spherical, ovoid, obovate, oval or spreading.
The crown of an apple tree will take its final shape by the age of 5 to 7 years.
In the year of planting, the main shoot on apple seedlings is shortened by 1/3. A year later, the side branches are shortened in tiers. The main shoot should be 30 cm longer than the side ones.
Important! If the tree has formed two crowns, one shoot is completely cut off.
In subsequent years, apple trees are pruned in autumn according to the scheme; for beginners, it is very important to adhere to a certain algorithm of actions. All main shoots are shortened, the branches growing inward are cut out, and the emerging basal shoots are also removed.
Pruning a columnar apple tree in autumn
Columnar apple trees are very convenient — these trees do not take up much space, but the yield is excellent. Pruning columnar varieties has its own characteristics.
Pruning columnar apple trees in the fall (we give a diagram for beginners), but it is simple — the central shoot is not cut out. Only replacement shoots with an apical bud are removed. In the first year, side shoots are cut off from the tree into two buds. In the second year, vertical shoots are shortened by 2 buds, of the two horizontal growths of the previous year, the strongest is left.
Cardinal pruning to rejuvenate the tree is carried out after 3-5 years, while shortening the main trunk, leaving 80 cm from the ground.