After looking at hundreds of planted and wild apple trees over the last several months, I’ve noticed something consistently about bear damage. Damage to the branches–regardless of where the fruit is–seems to mostly be at the top. Maybe it’s because bears feel most comfortable feeding on apples high up or something. In any case, this is another reason to reduce height via pruning on your apple trees. Other reasons include sturdier trees, less susceptibility to snow-loading, ease of fruit harvesting, and more sunlight to lower branches. I’ve also anecdotally noticed that although apple trees can grow tall, they don’t seem to have “the plumbing” to adequately service those high-up branches and they tend to die back anyway.


Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association