How to Prune Apple Trees in Winter

How to Prune Apple Trees in Winter

Apple trees need to be pruned between late autumn and early spring to encourage flowering and to encourage a good shaping. All fruit trees are either a spur bearing or tip bearing most trees are spur bearing, that is the fruit and branches grow on older branches closer to the main trunk of the tree. The flowers and branches that grow on tip bearing branches should be cut back less aggressively.

To prune an apple tree as seen here on a spur bearing tree, you will need the following tools:

  1. A pruning secateurs
  2. A Pruning Saw
  3. telescopic pruners for high branches

first, remove suckers, these are small branches that grow close to the base of the tree. remove all of these up to the base of the main canopy of the tree to encourage a good shape.

Second, remove any dead, diseased or damage wood or branches on the tree that are immediately visible usually by discoloration. In all cases, removed the whole branch if it does not have any buds on it. If it does of buds to the base of the branch, make a cut immediately above an outward facing bud. Make sure to angle each cut so rain does not sit on the top of the branch and rot the branch in time.

Third, remove crossing branches, to encourage your tress to grow in a good shape, cut off any branches that cross over to encourage a better growth shape. A better pruned tree will allow wind to pass through the plant and reduce wind blow diseases. Remove branches that cross over my rub and become infected. Cut these out.

Fourth, pruning the remaining branches. Cut back the high branches using your telescopic pruners by about half their length, this will encourage the stem to grow stronger by thickening and growing flowers in the following season. Make each cut above an outward facing bud to get a better shape.

For more advice in tree care and tree surgery whether it is simple tree removal or tree surgery and expertise, give us a call here at We’d be happy to you with more advice and guidance from removal, trimming and pruning as well as all other tree care services in Cork and Munster areas.


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