Pruning Hack 2.0: How to Prune Old Apple Tree with a Pole Saw?

Do you know how long an apple tree gives production?


Yes, the answer is right and it will show productive performance if only you prune it following an effective way.

If there is an old apple tree in your front or back yard, check if it is salvageable; decide to prune it with a pole saw. Once prune is finished, you will not get any fruit within the shortest possible time, but the apple tree will start producing fruit within 1 or 2 years for sure.

Now, the question is, “how to prune old apple tree with a pole saw?”

Well, this article will describe the whole procedure below.

Preparation for pruning

An apple tree pruning is similar to pruning a peach tree. Pruning will improve fruit production as well as vigor of the apple tree. You may think it is a complicated task and many gardeners think this task as an apprehensive one.

The fact is, through pruning, you can’t kill a tree. Within the first 3 years of an apple tree, it faces the most terrible pruning. So, pruning an old tree is a straightforward task.

An apple tree pruning:

  • Boost up fruit production.
  • Assist sunlight and air in reaching all the ripening fruit.

Required supplies:

Procedure : how to Prune Old Apple Tree with a Pole Saw

It would be best if you prune a tree while it is dormant. Pruning trees before they are completely dormant is more vulnerable to winter damage. So do your pruning after the hibernation, but before spring starts to grow.

Cut-down unproductive wood

Firstly, check for dead, diseased branches and start pruning with those.

How will you determine the dead and diseased branches?

The dark and brittle branches are the deadwood, and often the bark falls off from them. Diseased woods are dissimilar in color than the other branches. Dead or diseased woods are similar to an open wound in a tree. An open wound invites insects and other diseases in the tree.

Pruning unproductive wood doesn’t require any specific time. You can prune them at any time of the year.

Removing suckers from branches

The fact is, we prune trees so that it can grow well, but is all growth welcoming?

Suckers, whorls, and water sprouts are such type of growth which are only sapping energy from the plant.

Suckers: Branches which grows from the base of the plant.

Whorls: That grows from the branches and encircles the other branch.

Water sprouts: Thin branches which usually grows straight up.

These type of branches will never produce fruits. Pruning them early will boost up the growth of the tree, and the shape will improve.

pune a tree

Pruning low branches

Don’t hesitate to prune any branches that are 4’ above from the ground. Chances are less of producing apple on those branches and animals may nibble on these branches.

Remove future problems

Whatever downward branches are there in the old apple tree, without any confusion prune them out. Then look for branches which are rubbed with larger branches.

But here is the kicker:

If you don’t prune them, they will be thicker and heavier in future which will do damage to the productive branches. Prune these branches and save branches which will give fruits in the future.

Prune branches which will distort the tree shape

Once you finish following the above steps, now look at the tree again. You will find that one main leader is there. As the tree grows, it might not be staked so that the leader may show a curved shape. But there are some side branches which will grow with the leader and distort the shape along with the open space of the tree. So, prune them without any hesitation.

Trimming outward-facing buds

While pruning a complete branch, cut the branch collar a little away from the trunk, which can be an option. Simply follow the collar ring.

However, when you are pruning a branch partially, look for the outward-facing buds. Outward-facing branches are those branches which are directed away from the neighboring branch. If you cut just above the buds on the outer face will encourage new branches to emerge from other existing branches and stay away.

But remember:

If a cut is made above the buds of the inner branch, new branches will be stimulated, which will cross the current inside branches or give shade. Eventually, these branches need to be removed.

Clutter clearing

Now focus on the thin interior branches. Prune them so that the sunlight can reach all fruits. Be pitiless as much as required. Removing all unnecessary growth is significantly essential than pruning one-third of the branches.

Don’t forget that, all these pruning are the result of new growths, so the more you remove them now, the less you will need to deal with them.

We are almost at the end of the process. Make sure; the lower branches are larger than the upper branches. Once you finish pruning all the unnecessary and unproductive branches, the shape of the apple tree should be similar to a pyramid.

Bottom Line

While pruning an old apple tree with a pole saw, you have to know which branches need pruning, which doesn’t. After completing pruning, the shape of the tree may seem unusual, but the tree will become healthier and produce more fruit than before, for sure.

So, don’t you find the whole process of “how to prune old apple tree with a pole saw” quite straightforward? I believe you are nodding.

It is advisable to use protective gear while using a pole saw because pole saw’s blades are sharp enough to cut hands if you become careless.

Thanks for reading this article.