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I have two Espalier apple trees and I would like to know when is the best time to prune them and should they produce every year or do they only produce by cycle's (every so many years)?

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A

The best time to prune apples is while they are still dormant (late winter), but if you missed it, go ahead and prune them through spring. Although alternate year bearing is a natural occurrence, proper care will promote good fruit production every year. If we have a late freeze after the flowers have bloomed and pollinated, the tiny young fruit could be killed; the tree would not bear fruit that year. That doesn't happen too often but it's possible.

Pruning, training, and thinning are probably the most important cultural practices to sustain productivity year to year and for many years henceforth.

Here is a website with some good instructions on espalier pruning:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/quickref/general/espalier.html

Good gardening!

Posted on 19 Apr 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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