How to Prune Spire Apple Trees


There are several varieties of spire apple trees, including Crimson Spire, Emerald Spire, Scarlet Spire, and Ultra Spire. They are also known as colonnade apple trees or apple pillars due to their narrow, upright growing habit. A mature spire apple tree will reach a height of 8 feet and a width of 2 feet (1 1/2 inch trunk). Fruit is formed on spurs that extend from the trunk instead of tall branches; as such, they take up little space and can be grown in small gardens or even in containers on a deck or porch. They need a little pruning to maintain their shape and productivity.

Step 1

Remove any dead or damaged branches and crowded twigs. This should be done in late winter before any new growth appears.

Step 2

In late winter, trim the ends of the branches and the leader to control the height and shape of the tree.

Step 3

Prune the spire apple tree in mid summer by cutting back any branches that have grown beyond the desired width of the tree. Prune back to three leaves, as you want to maintain the desired column-like structure.

Step 4

Deposit the pruned plant material into your compost bin. Do not put any diseased plant material in your compost bin. Diseased plant material should be disposed of.

Step 5

The spire apple trees require very little maintenance and are the perfect apple tree for small spaces. Apples are usually ready for picking in September.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Pole pruner


  • Sunset
  • Garden Design
  • Colorado State University
Keywords: spire apple trees pruning, visually inspect cut back, deposit plant material compost

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational columns "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in Oconee Today, a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies." "From Death to Living in the Light" and "Spiritual Intelligence" will be released by Ezop has a BA degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.