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My hunting party picked up some new land a few weeks ago and there are several large apple trees on the property. I know you are supposed to trim out the dead limbs for better apple production, but would it be beneficial to do it now or should we wait until winter? Also how should we go about fertilizing the trees(fertilizer type, amount, and when)? The previous lease holder actually showed us around the property and said the trees did produce alot of apples for him but they where small.
 

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I only prune my trees in the winter after they have gone dormant - I haven't had to fertialize, but from what I read - the root base is as wide and spread out as the tree limbs - also - if you can - trip the tops - they 'bush' out that way instead of growing too tall - and helps produce buds in the spring -

ferg....
 

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Fertilizing
You can use fruit tree fertilizer spikes which are available at most garden centers. Pound the spikes around the tree at the recommended spacing along the "drip line" of the branches. This would be, as Ferg suggested, just below the outer reach of the branch tips.

Pruning
This can be done at any time. Orchard farmers do it in the winter mainly because that's their least busy time of the year. Done in the winter the tree will go through less "shock" from the pruning, but with larger trees the shock is minimal at worst.

Prune all dead branches as well as those branches that are crowding out the center of the tree. The center of the tree should be fairly open.

Remove any branches that seem to be competing with each other for growing space. Older trees that have not been taken care of may need some severe pruning at first, but the results will be worth the effort.

Here's a helpful website for the care of apple trees.
http://www.rickerhill.com/Pruning.htm
 

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I don't know how much tree cutting you can do with a lease, but most of all apple trees need lots and lots of sunlight for good production.

L & O
 

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gunfun13 is in the lease with me and two others, surprisingly the owner said we can do anything but mess up his crp fields...All the main branches have tons of chutes protruding up towards the sky....Should those be trimmed?
 

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Do you plan to eat the apples or will they just be for the deer? I ask because I have lots of wild apple trees on my property. They haven't been pruned and produce lots of deer size apples. The deer feed under my trees every year they produce - at all times of the day. Guess I don't know the value of pruning a tree to get larger apples when the deer much prefer a size they can get in their mouths easier. And the good part is, they all don't fall at the same time going well into late November. I agree to remove dead branches though. Good luck - that's my 2 cents worth.
 

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kotz21 said:
...All the main branches have tons of chutes protruding up towards the sky....Should those be trimmed?
If the shoots are growing up in the central portion of the tree they need to be pruned. You want the center to be fairly open.

It sounds like the trees need a good healthy pruning with at least a third of their smaller limbs/branches/shoots removed.
 

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Cut the dead stuff anytime. Alot of the pests will hide in the dead wood. The straight up branches are called "Suckers", they could be pruned anytime. The major cutting should be early Spring before any blossoms appear.

Another thing to look into is that you should not fertilize heavily and prune heavily the same year. The tree would be at a higher risk of getting a disease.

Ask the property owner if you can kill or drop a few trees that block the sun, this will increase the size and amount of apples. :corkysm55

I had tiny crowded trees that produce really well after some work and time.

Look for multiple brances stacked above each other. The top shades out the bottom. Thin them out.

Good luck.
 
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