The best time for pruning apple trees in Michigan is between December and March when the tree is dormant.
The “Central Leader” is the preferred technique at Blake Farms.
Tools you will need:
Remove dead branches. Remove any dead or diseased branches. Dead branches will snap easily.
Remove the suckers from the branches and roots. They suck the energy out of the tree making it difficult to bear fruit.
Knee high let it fly. Cut back any branches that are lower than your knee to prevent fruit from touching the ground.
Crossing and Cramping. Cut branches that are growing together or in towards the tree to prevent overcrowding.
45º or lower Branches at a 45º to 90º angle from the tree are ideal for supporting the weight of the fruit.
A third is preferred. Pruning a third of the tree will not shock it and will supplement its growth for the future.