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Prune your apple tree now for fall fruit

Ciscoe's tips for this important winter garden chore. #k5evening

SEATTLE — "Do you love apples? Well if you don't prune your apple tree, you aren't gonna get many apples, so you need to get out there and prune your fruit tree!" said gardening expert Ciscoe Morris. He added January is the perfect time to prune. 

Ciscoe recommends grabbing a file and sharpening your pruners if you haven't used them in awhile. You only need to sharpen the beveled edge and he says it'll make the job easier. He uses both hand held small pruners and long handled loppers for this job. 

First thing to tackle is any long thin branches sprouting off the main tree. They don't produce fruit. 

"They block the light and if your fruit's not getting any light it's going to ripen late if it ripens at all," Ciscoe added. 

Cut them all the way back to fruit buds, which look like "little chubby bumps."

"So at some point you got to climb to the top of the tree," Ciscoe said. "We don't want this thing to get 20 feet tall, so we have to get up high to get all these sprouts off."

"Hey, one thing I've gotta warn you about. Don't bring your stepladder with 4 legs out to work on the apple tree, that puts more people in the emergency ward than anything else I know," Ciscoe said. "If you can afford one, go out and buy an orchard ladder. I think you can rent these if you need to, they've got three legs, they're really stable, it's the only way to go."

Pruning fruit trees is a job you need to do once every year to prevent your tree from getting too tall to take care of. And it's a job that requires some time. But Ciscoe says it's worth it.  

"Hey, it's a lot of work, but what's better than homegrown fruit? So get out there and prune your tree now, and you'll be eating pie ala mode next fall!" 


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