How to prune crab apple trees; not always a fun job but somebody has to do it! It is usually the most desirable time to prune crab apple trees in the late winter before the tree grows leaves. If you must prune in the summer, as I did today you still may, but run a risk of injuring the plant.
The trees I pruned today had several years of growth since the last pruning. The largest tree was probably around 20 feet tall, and the smallest of the three was approximately 10 feet tall. The reason for the late summer pruning was that the home owners are going to have a sale in the front yard next weekend. The growth of the crab apple trees was so much that they couldn’t get their 10’x10′ canopy tent set up to sell their goods.
Tips for how to prune crab apple trees
- I used a telescopic pruning saw with a hooked cutter on the back as well as some hedge clippers to get the job done.
- When trimming the end of a crab apple branch, do so about 1/4″ above any part of the branch you intend on keeping in tact.
- Be sure to prune back branches that are crossing and rubbing on each other.
- Trim off any dead branches just outside of the widest part by the main plant.
- In this case, I trimmed away the branches that were rubbing on the house and gutters. These cuts were more out of necessity rather than aesthetics.
- If cutting branches of the top of the tree, do so sparingly to minimize risk of damaging the plant.
When to prune crab apple trees
As mentioned before, it is best to prune crab apple trees in mid to late winter. You can best see what branches to cut when there are no leaves in the way. The tree will also heal itself faster if you make the cuts before the sap is flowing and the tree is producing leaves.
I hope these tips will help you when you go to prune your crab apple trees.
Questions? Leave them in the comments section below, or tweet @handyfather.