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Apple Tree Pruning

We have an apple tree that is at about 8-10 years old. We have neglected it, not pruning or spraying much at all. Now almost half of it is dead (a vertical half), although the other half blossomed. Can we salvage the tree, and should we completely prune all the dead wood, even though that leaves a very imbalanced tree?

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2 Comments To "Apple Tree Pruning"

#1 Comment By dann On 05/15/2015 @ 10:38 pm

pruning stimulates new growth.cut off all dead wood and remove it from the area as it may be infected or infested. prune the remaining branched to form a basket like shape inside where all branches receive good sunlight. 10-20-10 fertilizer applied under the drip line and watered in will help recovery

#2 Comment By shelley On 05/16/2015 @ 6:17 pm

This could be attributed to a few different things. Branch dieback on one side of a tree typically indicates verticillium wilt. Apple trees are supposed to be resilient/immune to verticillium wilt except for the European strains (but, given that I do not know where you are located I felt this was pertinent to mention). More than likely your tree has some kind of root or trunk damage and as such, should really be inspected by an arborist.

However, if you decide to pursue pruning, here are some excellent extension articles that will give you guidelines on how to do so and yes, you will want to start by pruning the dead wood.

Here are some extension articles that will give you information on how to renovate old, abandoned apple trees:

[1] (PDF)
[2] (PDF)

For more information on pruning apple trees, please visit the following link:

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