How to Prune Crabapples

A healthy crabapple is a short pruning away

Gary Junken, edited by Cari Delahanty

Steve Aitken visits Tower Hill Botanic Garden to show you how these spring-blooming trees are pruned.

How to Prune Crabapples

Learn how to prune a crabapple tree with this step-by-step guide.

Materials Needed and Process

1. Begin pruning before the crabapple tree has its leaves. This ensures that you can actually see what you are doing, so that you know which branches should be pruned.

2. Start at the base. Prune any small suckers/sprouts near the bottom of the tree.

3. Prune away water sprouts. Prune away small branches that have started to grow upright from larger branches. Cut small branches all the way to the their origin next to the closest main stem.

4. Keep your eyes out for any branches that are diseased or damaged. Prune away any diseased branches. Clean up any ragged edges/bark, to avoid damaging the tree.

5. Don’t forget to prune higher up, too! There are tools that allow you to prune hard-to-reach branches without climbing onto a ladder.

6. Don’t remove more than one-third of the branches while pruning.

7. Enjoy your freshly-pruned crabapple tree!


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