Perfect Timing for Pruning Your Apple Tree

Produce more apples

By Gail Hudson, Extension Communications Specialist for Horticulture

Photo courtesy: Julie Weisenhorn
By the end of the winter, most gardeners are itching to get outside and start doing something! You certainly can–by pruning your apple tree(s). Extension Educator Annie Klodd, a fruit and vegetable specialist, says late February, early March is just about right for Minnesota gardeners. The trick is to do it at the end of winter just as the temperatures are rising a bit, but before the tree’s buds emerge.
Pruning an apple tree is an important task for home growers, she says, for several reasons:
  1. It’s a good time to get rid of diseased, damaged and dead wood on your tree.
  2. It gives the apple tree a nice shape and allows more light to get to the buds and fruit.
  3. The tree will be healthier, produce more fruit and grow better overall.

Tools to use

Line up the right tools before you begin pruning. Depending on the size of your apple tree, you’ll need at least a pair of hand clippers for a small one.  For a large tree, large loppers work as well as a pruning saw.

For more information about growing and maintaining apple trees, read this article by University of Minnesota Horticulturist and fruit expert Emily Hoover: