Sometimes pruning apple trees just isn’t enough, especially on young & vigorous trees. Branches that tend to grow straight up or at a 45-degree angle tend to be more “vegetative” instead of “fruitful.” In other words, branches that grow near horizontal from the trunk, signal to the tree that growth isn’t as necessary & instead should make fruit. In one photo, it shows my attempt to weigh down–with firewood–some vigorous branches to a more horizontal and “fruitful” shape. The other photo below shows a pear that has not been weighed down with string and firewood. Instead, I got lucky and last year’s heavy fruit crop weighed down the branches for me. These branches are–more or less–permanently shaped from this loading and have good structure for future fruit-bearing. Sometimes this can happen on its own, but not always.

Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association