Pruning trees off-season

Asked May 23, 2016, 12:03 PM EDT

Hello. I'd like to prune an old apple tree in our yard, but never seem to manage to do it at the right time. I don't care about fruit production for this season or the next, so does it matter if I prune it now? It is a very old apple tree with sub-par fruit, but I don't want to remove the whole tree. Also, we have a non-producing peach tree that I would also like to cut back a bit to give other things more sun. Can I prune it whenever I want if I don't care how it will affect the fruit? Oh, and if it matters, these trees are in Bend. (So I guess that's two questions...) Thanks!

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

Hi, If you are not concerned about fruit production you can go ahead and prune them both now. The generally rule of thumb is not to remove more than 1/3 of the total tree canopy in any given season. Since leaves produce food for the tree, you do not want to remove too many at any one time. We also have a few publications that can assist you with pruning. One for restoring an old apple tree and another one on pruning fruit trees in general.

Restoring an old apple tree:

https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/ec1005.pdf

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/deschutes/sites/default/files/Horticulture/documents/pnw400_0.pdf

Thanks, Amy Jo