Pruning Honey Crisp

Asked January 20, 2018, 12:17 AM EST

I planted an 8 ft Honey Crisp apple tree with a 2 inch diameter trunk in our back yard 3 years ago in late summer. It had a little immature apple on it that fell off shortly after planting. I have been waiting for it to produce apples but nothing has happened yet. In Spring, after the first winter, I noticed that the bark in the mid section of the trunk had split in a couple places. Later I learned that it may have occurred during a late winter thaw then re-freeze. I heard that I could have possibly prevented the splitting if I had wrapped the tree. Now the tree is 12 ft tall. No blossoms observed in Spring and I have never pruned it. I would like to know how to prune it now that it is taller. There is a very long sucker? branch that grew inside a plastic tree trunk protector that is now as tall as the central leader. I assume this must be pruned. The bark splitting from the first year looks kind of ugly both otherwise the tree seems healthy. I have not fertilized it. I have read that a central leader approach works well for apple trees and I am wondering how I should go about it at this stage. The tree is not bushy. It is kind of this and tall. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response The branch that is competing with the central leader should be removed. Don’t expect apples from your tree until it is at least 8 years old, sometimes they bear earlier but not usually. If you would like to see a video on how to prune honey crisp apples do a google search for “you tube video pruning a honey crisp apple”. Short frost cracks are usually not a problem.