How to Prune an Apple Tree in Ohio


Apple trees need to be pruned annually to maintain the health of the trees. Neglected trees bear less fruit, and the apples they produce are often poor in quality. A proper pruning job that focuses on the shaping of the tree and removal of unhealthy or poor-quality wood can rejuvenate apple trees. Ohio growers should prune apple trees in spring, once frost danger has passed and before the tree begins growing again. This is typically sometime in April or May.

Step 1

Check the branches of your apple tree for signs of dead, diseased and damaged limbs. Deadwood will feel hollow and will not move in the wind. Damaged or diseased wood will bear discoloration, wounds or other physical evidence.

Step 2

Cut off all unhealthy wood by removing it at its base, using anvil pruners for wood smaller than 3/4-inch in diameter and lopping shears for larger growth. In between each cut, spray your pruning tools with disinfectant spray to prevent bacteria or fungi from spreading to healthy limbs.

Step 3

Head back apple tree branches if you feel they've grown too long. Trim long branches back to just above a bud or a lateral branch.

Step 4

Trim away any branches that grow downward or vertically, since these are poor growers that shade other wood. Also cut off any branches that lean on or crisscross other growth.

Step 5

Remove old-growth limbs that produce few fruits. These limbs typically have grayer colored wood. Also cut off thin, weak growth that cannot support the weight of developing fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Disinfectant spray


  • Ohio State University: Pruning Mature Apples and Pears
  • Victory Seeds: Frost Dates for Ohio
Keywords: prune apple tree, Ohio apple tree, trim apple tree, prune apple Ohio

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.