Pruning branches inside a tree tube.

Asked December 20, 2019, 1:24 PM EST

I have translucent 4 foot tree tubes around 25 dolgo crab trees. The tubes are solid and would have to be somehow cut to get at the branches inside the tubes. The crabs are about 6 feet tall coming out the top of the tubes. Should the branches inside the tubes be pruned? I've heard you shouldn't prune more than 25 % of the branches of a tree. About 60% of the branches are inside the tubes.

Lac qui Parle County Minnesota

1 Response

Dolgo crab trees are a type of apple tree. If fruit is less than 2” in diameter, it is considered a crabapple. If it is greater than 2”, the plant is considered an apple tree. Crab apple trees should be pruned every year in Feb or early March. Late winter is after the coldest weather is past, and before growth begins. You will need to gradually remove the lowest branches over several years. Do not remove all of the small branches at once. Please read general pruning guidelines at the following site.

https://extension.umn.edu/fruit/growing-apples

https://extension.psu.edu/pruning-apples-and-pears-in-home-fruit-plantings

Cut off the translucent tree tubes and replace it with white tree wrap that is made of crepe paper. Commercial tree wraps insulate young tree bark and prevent sunscald. In late October, wrap trunks upward from the base of the tree to a point just above the lowest branches. Overlap about 33 percent with each turn. Secure the wrap with tape, but be careful not to attach the tape to the tree bark. Be sure to remove tree wrap and tape in April to avoid girdling and possible insect and disease damage. Overlap about 33 percent with each turn. Secure the wrap with tape, but be careful not to attach the tape to the tree bark. Be sure to remove tree wrap and tape the following April to avoid girdling and possible insect damage.

It is very important to force scaffold branches to grow at a 60° to 90° angle from the trunk.

Use objects such as toothpicks, clothes-pins, or short sticks to push branches towards a horizontal position in mid to late June.

https://douglas.extension.wisc.edu/files/2015/05/Training-and-Pruning-Apple-Trees.pdf

Hardware cloth barriers should be used to keep voles from girdling small fruit trees. Wrap a strip of ¼ mesh hardware cloth around the base of small trees. The hardware cloth should be set 4 to 6 inches into the ground and be approximately at least 24 inches high Tree guards should be at least 4 inches higher than your anticipated snow depth. https://extension.psu.edu/orchard-wildlife-integrated-management-of-voles-in-orchard