Useful tips on how to rejuvenate old apple trees in the garden

useful tips on how to rejuvenate old apple trees in the garden Blog

To follow the correct procedure for pruning trees, you must have sufficient skills and experience. Without this, you are more likely to only harm him. In this matter, you need to follow a few rules. We recommend checking them out if you’re new to it.

How to rejuvenate old apple trees?

The procedure for rejuvenating an old apple tree takes more than one year and it is best if you do it gradually, for example, in 2 or 3 seasons. In this case, the tree will experience much less stress and will bear fruit better. So do not cut everything at once, otherwise, the apple tree is threatened with a long, difficult recovery and various diseases. It is possible that she may even die.

When is it necessary to prune old apple trees?

In order to carry out the rejuvenation procedure most effectively and safely for the tree itself, you need to know in advance the timing when this can be done. It is most logical to do this in spring and autumn, since in summer the apple tree is quite bulky, and it is unlikely that anyone likes to cut “live”. In winter, on the contrary, the wood is very fragile due to the low temperature.


This allows the tree to heal its wounds before the season arrives. Moreover, this season it is most noticeable which branches died after the winter period.

Having chosen autumn, wait until the apple tree gives out all its fruits and sheds foliage (just beware of frost). During this period of time, the tree calms down, which makes it easier to tolerate this procedure.

pruning apple tree
pruning apple tree

How to properly rejuvenate an apple tree?

In the beginning, make sure that your apple tree really has enough strength to endure pruning. In the event that the trunk is already dry, has large cracks and has begun to rot, then it will be easier for you to cut it down and not waste your strength. It is best to plant a new, young tree in its place.

At the moment, there are 3 ways to rejuvenate an old apple tree: gradual pruning, half pruning and one-time pruning.

Gradual pruning of the apple tree

This procedure consists in pruning the apple tree for 2 or 3 years, where the dry branches are removed gradually. The first year is the so-called sanitary pruning. It represents the removal of the upper part of the trunk when the tree accumulates its strength.

In the second year of gradual pruning, barren branches are removed (3-4 branches at a time maximum) and the crown of the tree is cleaned. And in the third year, the branches that remain are shortened, which pushes them to form new fruits.

Half pruning apple tree

Half pruning is also called modern, it is the most humane. The crown of the tree is formed in about a couple of years, in parts. In the first year of the rejuvenation process, it is cut to a three-meter height and a two-meter width of the southern half of the crown. Further, in a year (or maybe two), the northern part of the tree is also shortened.

pruning apple tree

It should be noted that in the entire crown, the strongest tops should remain at a distance of 70 centimeters between each other. Saw places are treated with garden pitch. If the cut is more than 5 centimeters, then it must be wrapped with a black film, which cannot be removed until the beginning of autumn.

Disposable apple pruning

One-time rejuvenation pruning is the most controversial procedure. It can be said that it is rather cruel in its manifestation in relation to apple trees and can be both a means of salvation and an accelerator of the death of a tree. Naturally, it would be best if you do not allow the apple tree to be in such a deplorable state to resort to this method and remove such a large number of branches at once. But, since there is no choice, then you can still try.


The top of the apple tree is cut off, then the extra, dry branches. This procedure is carried out exclusively in the spring, since the apple tree simply will not be able to overwinter after such severe injuries left in the fall.

Rules for pruning apple trees:

  1. The largest branches are always cut first;
  2. Do not forget to remove all dry, barren and diseased branches;
  3. Tops should remain on the entire tree up to 10 pieces;
  4. Trim the top of the trunk to 3.5 meters so that sunlight is available to the center of the tree crown;
  5. Then move away from the apple tree and inspect it. Repeat the necessary procedures if you find thickened areas;
  6. Do not remove more than a third of the tree’s branches at a time. It is better to achieve the result that you want next year. But on the other hand, this will not bring any harm to your apple tree.

Basic pruning requirements

We have already figured out what really needs to be removed, and what is better to leave. Next, we will consider how exactly all the extra branches on the old apple tree are cut off and how to properly process the “wounds” after.

apple tree after pruning

After preparing all the necessary tools, consider how you will get to the top of the tree. It is clear that if it is not higher than 5 meters, then a ladder will be quite enough. But what if not? Here we need a full-fledged ladder and the delimber, which will have long handles. It will be more convenient for you if you call someone to help you to supply the necessary tool. If there are none, then just fasten it tightly to your belt.

In order to immediately process the cut points, take a garden pitch or other similar remedy with you, because if you delay with this, you can probably miss some “wounds” of the apple tree and only harm it.

We are sure that if you follow these simple rules and recommendations, you will extend the life of your old apple tree, and it will delight you with its delicious fruits for a long time to come. Naturally, for a beginner, this is quite difficult, but with maximum effort and desire, you will definitely succeed!

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