pruning crabapple tree

Asked August 6, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT

My crabapple tree is about 20 yrs old and has never been trimmed in the upper portion. This year, the weight of the crabapples is pulling down the branches. One of the branches has bent back and is broken. should we prune it now? If we do prune it, should we do anything to prevent disease? Is it safe to prune it at this time of the year?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Pruning this tree should occur in late winter, early spring, but the fact that it has a recently broken branch means that you should remove that branch now in order to minimize the chances of infection and insect attacks.

Pruning during the dormant season means that you can see into the tree much easier to make the right pruning cuts. Again, there is far less chance of insects and disease during this time.

Pruning an overgrown tree like this is tricky. You might want to hire a certified arborist to do the major work.
http://www.myminnesotawoods.umn.edu/2009/01/finding-tree-care-help-certified-arborists-and-mn-tree-c...

In case you want to do it yourself, here are some resources that you can look over:
http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fphg/pome/pruning/pruning-a-special-case-renovating-old-fr...
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/pruning-trees-shrubs/#renewal-pruning

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.