How to prune a dwarf apple tree 3rd year.
I have a dwarf apple tree that is in its 3rd year. Its limbs are quite low to the ground and I'm wanting to take them off. Fruit produced this year is small and sparse, but it is unusually hot and we had a very low-rain winter. The tree has heavier spreading branches at the bottom and smaller branches toward the top. It only about 5' tall. Should I take off the fuller limb just above the ground?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Yes you can probably prune off the lowest branches without harm, just don't strip it up too high, not more than 10 to 20 % of the foliage. Try not to expose the stem to hot afternoon sun, or the result can be sunburn of the bark and underlying growing layer and progressive decay.
Deep water once a week and apply mulch to the soil surface to help retain soil moisture.
Use dormant spray at least twice in winter, horticultural oil and copper, to suppress overwintering fungi and insect pest eggs and larvae. Spray 70% neem oil during the growing season as a preventive for pests and fungal disorders.