How to prune and take care of your apple tree.

The apple tree comes in many different types and sizes. As a garden lover, this beautiful fruit tree shouldn’t be missed in your garden. The only things you need to do for a good harvest is to prune your tree and give it high quality fertilizer in spring, so it can absorb the nutrients for a boost towards the summer.

An apple tree doesn’t need much more care to get good, tasty fruit every year. But how do you prune an apple tree? And when?

apples hanging on a tree

Origin of the apple tree

Before we get to the pruning part, let’s first find out where the apple tree is originated. Together with the pear tree, the apple tree is one of the most popular tree varieties in many countries. But where does the apple tree originally come from?

The Malus (Latin name of the apple) is an old fruit tree species that occurs in the temperate regions of Europe. The Chinese started to cross apple trees to grow better and bigger apples. In Roman times, apple trees got more and more widely known and distributed throughout Europe.

many red apples

Different types of apple trees

The cultivated apple tree varieties that all belong to the family of the apple trees can be divided into different groups. You have different types of apple trees with apples that you can eat, but there are also apple trees that have been grown for ornamental purposes. The different apple tree varieties are: wild apple, ornamental apple, and edible apple.

The characteristic that all different types of apple trees have in common is the blossom.

A cultivated plant is a plant that has been grown by a grower. For example, if there is a demand for a small apple tree with large red apples, the grower will cross a small apple tree and an apple tree with large red apples. This apple tree is then a cultivated species.

The characteristic that all different types of apple trees have in common is the blossom. The color of the blossom can differ per species, but is always between very light pink and dark red. It is never completely white.

apple tree with blue sky

Apple trees with so called hand apples are the best known apple tree varieties. These are the apples you buy in supermarket. But they are also the most used in the garden as fruit tree. There are many types and tastes in the apple tree category. Roughly you could say that there are sweet and sweet-sour varieties.

How to treat your apple tree

An apple tree does not need much care. When planting, it is good to have a layer of potting soil at the bottom of the planting hole to give it a nice start. The planting hole can be made just as big as the root ball of the tree. Give him a big splash of water after planting.

If you have planted an apple tree, you only have to prune it and check for diseases. If you have planted the tree in a pot, you have to keep an eye on whether the soil doesn't dry out.

Prune your apple tree twice a year to keep it happy, healthy, productive and in shape. 

It is advisable to give your apple tree special composed tree fertilizer in early spring. The tree can then absorb the nutrients for a boost towards the summer. Furthermore, pruning an apple tree is the best care you can give him. By pruning, you give your tree enough strength every year for new fruits.

How to prune an apple tree

Before you prune an apple tree you need to know when to do this and how to recognize the different branches on the tree. We have a number of tips for you to look out for so you can get started quickly. If an apple tree has been pruned once, you will already recognize the branches.

Give your apple tree high quality fertilizer in spring so it can absorb the nutrients for a boost towards the summer.

When should you prune an apple tree

There are 2 periods when you have to prune an apple tree:

• Winter pruning (before flowering from December to April)

• Summer pruning (in June - August)

You have to prune an apple tree in order to harvest better fruit. It is also good for the tree itself. This way the tree can focus the energy on the blossom and the fruits instead of the leaves.

Green apples in bucket

Pruning an apple tree in the winter

In the growing season, the apple tree has been able to form beautiful branches that will again be fruitful next year. But unfortunately that does not apply to every branch. Some branches grow quickly and straight up. We call these branches water sprouts. You can cut these off completely in the winter and if they are small you can even pull them off by hand. You can recognize water sprouts easy because they are slightly different in color. If you cut a branch with a bud that points outwards or downwards, you get branches that run wide or even grow horizontally. These are exactly the branches where next year blossom will come and where you will reap the benefits in the autumn!

Pruning an apple tree in the summer

In the summer you can prune your tree to keep it in shape. You call this shape pruning. The point here is that you prune a part of the water sprouts, so the energy of the tree doesn’t flush into the leaves but goes to the fruits.

Because of this, the tree no longer has weird branches and it gets its round shape back again. Make sure that you don't cut the branches too short because it doesn’t have to be bare. The tree also needs its leaves. 

woman holding apples