I have a 5 year old spur bearing apple tree, Christmas Pippin variety. I’ve missed the winter pruning window, and it’s just starting to bud, so definitely no longer dormant.

I’ve pruned the last 2 years since I’ve had it, but it definitely needs some more shaping. There are a few branches starting to cross, and some that are a bit on the low side.

Should I just go ahead and prune it, or wait for next winter?

2 Answers 2


I used a U of IL home fruit tree pruning guide : The instructions were " prune when the shears are sharp". Caution - With all the political correctness today , they may have revised these instructions . On the other hand, it is easier to see branches with no leaves. And very young trees might put out new growth if pruned in late summer, which would be lost in winter


Just take out any problem growth (like crossing branches that may rub and allow disease to take hold) as far back to the main trunk as possible, so you won't get more problem growth by being too cautious.

Then spend the rest of the year deciding exactly how you want to "shape" the tree next winter. Don't forget that the tree doesn't care whether or not you think it is "a nice shape."

To add to the U of IL guide mentioned in another answer, there is only one really important pruning rule: If you cut something off by mistake, you can't stick it back on again.


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