Pruning an Apple Tree Washington DC
Takoma Park, MD
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Pruning an Apple Tree
As with other fruit trees, the main goal of pruning apple trees is to increase fruit quantity and quality. On young trees, training and pruning establish a healthy framework of branches. Continue pruning once or twice a year to maintain the structure.
Tools and Materials
- Pruning saw
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses
- Leather gloves
- Notched sticks, various lengths
When to prune. The most important time to prune is late winter before you see any signs of new growth. Prune off damaged limbs as well as branches that grow too close to the main branches. Thin out crowded and crossing twigs. Choose limbs to form another layer of main structural branches above the previous layers, and remove competing branches. Trim back by two-thirds the new growth at branch ends and from the central trunk (leader).
In midsummer, remove all new shoots that grow straight up or down from the limbs and from the base of the tree. If the main trunk is forked, remove the weaker shoot.
Where to cut. Don't randomly shorten branches; remove them all the way to their bases. Make final cuts of 1-inch and larger branches at the "branch collar," the raised bark ridges that encircle the base of the branch where it joins the trunk. Don't cut branches flush to the trunk, and don't leave stubs.
To avoid tearing the bark as you cut through a branch that is too heavy to hold up yourself, divide the cut into three steps. Cut first from the bottom, 6 to 8 inches out from the location of the final cut and half way into the branch. Make the second cut from the top, about an inch further out than the first cut. The branch will break off once this second top cut reaches the area of the first bottom cut, and a stub will remain. Remove the stub in one cut through the branch collar.
Prune twigs back to within 1/4 inch of a bud that points in the desired direction, usually toward the outside of the tree.
Training young trees. On 2- to 3-year-old trees, remove all branches within 30 to 36 inches of the ground and large branches that grow parallel with the main trunk (central leader) at the top of the tree. Choose three or four well-placed branches spaced evenly around the trunk and 6 to 10 inches apart vertically. Branches should form a wide angle with the trunk (not narrower than 45 degrees). These become your permanent scaffold branches. Prune off the other branches. Do this in late winter while the tree is dormant. In subsequent years, add one or two more layers of scaffold branches, spaced 12 to 15 inches apart.
Spread the branches. Branches that form a 45 degree to 60 degree angle with the trunk produce more fruit and are less likely to break under stress than ones at narrower angles. To widen the angle of otherwise desirable branches, wedge a notched stick between the branch and trunk to spread them apart. Install the spreaders in late winter and remove in late summer.
Use pruners for cutting limbs up to 3/4 inch diameter. Loppers can handle up to 1-1/2 inch cuts. Use a pruning saw to remove larger branches.
When apple trees reach a desirable height, cut the central leader back to the uppermost branch and remove subsequent upward-growing shoots.
Photography by National Gardening Association.
Suburban Maryland Fall Home Show - Upper Marlboro
Dates: 10/31/2014 – 11/2/2014
Show Place Arena Upper Marlboro
14900 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Home Show is a consumer event designed for homeowners in all stages of remodeling, landscaping and decorating their homes. Each event includes hundreds of home improvement and landscaping exhibits with product demonstrations and sample interior and exterior vignettes. With a combination of new products and expert advice from the pros, the Home Show inspires homeowners with countless ideas on enhancing their home's comfort and functionality, as well as its aesthetic appeal and overall value.
Guaranty Fund Workshop - Maryland Home Improvement Commission
Dates: 11/20/2014 – 11/20/2014
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation - 2nd floor conference room. Baltimore
500 North Calvert Street
DLLR's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Guaranty Fund Workshop - Maryland Home Improvement Commission The Maryland Home Improvement Commission offers a workshop to inform homeowner and contractors about the Guaranty Fund process. The free workshops are held on the 3rd Thursday of every odd-numbered month (January, March, May, July, September and November) at 2:00 p.m. at 500 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, in the 2nd floor conference room. Please use the Centre Street entrance. If you plan to file a claim, or have already filed a claim and would like more information about the claim review process, or if you are a contractor against whom a claim has been filed, this workshop will provide valuable information to you. The workshop will help participants learn more about the Guaranty Fund and the claim process. Please note that we will not discuss specific claims during the workshop.Pre-registration is not required. For more information, please send an email to email@example.com or call 410-230-6309. Who: Homeowners and Contractors What: Free workshop to learn about the MHIC Guaranty Fund process. When: The 3rd Thursday of every other month - (odd months only)January 16, 2014March 20, 2014May 15, 2014July 17, 2014September 18, 2014November 20, 2014 What Time: 2:00 PM until 3:15 PM Where: 500 North Calvert StreetBaltimore, Maryland 21202(Please use the Centre Street entrance) Why: To learn about the Guaranty Fund process and what a homeowner and contractor can expect after a claim is filed against the Guaranty Fund. We will answer these and other questions: What is the Fund? Who is eligible for the Fund?How much can I recover? What costs are not covered?How long does the process take? What is a small claim?What if the contractor files bankruptcy? What can I expect at a hearing?