Pruning the ornamental apple tree

Pruning the ornamental apple tree

Pruning | 25 February 2021

Malus

The ornamental apple tree (Malus) does not mind pruning. It has a tendency to grow in an irregular shape, so if you prefer your tree to have a neater appearance you can trim it at certain times of the year.

Pruning in summer

If you have planted your ornamental apple as a solitary feature and you want to create a shapely tree, you can raise the crown in summer by removing the low branches. Saw off the lowermost side branches first. If these are very thick, it is better to saw them approximately 10 cm from the trunk. Start by making a saw cut several centimetres deep on the underside of the branch and then saw through the branch from the top. After the branches have been removed, you can shorten the stumps. Always keep enough distance from the trunk so that the branch collar is left intact. The branch collar is the thickened base of the branch where it joins the trunk. Treat the pruning cuts with a wound sealant.

Pruning in autumn or winter

To improve the shape of the crown of an ornamental apple, this can be thinned out with regular trimming in autumn or winter. The crown needs thinning out if it has too much dead wood, as this causes a thin leaf cover on the outside of the tree. To thin out the crown, remove some of the thicker branches, divided evenly all over the crown. Make a saw cut a few centimetres deep on the underside first, before sawing from the top. This prevents the branch from tearing. A pruning saw is the best tool to use. Make sure you do not cut too close to the trunk, and treat the cuts with a wound sealant.

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