Schemes of the formation of the crown of the apple tree

The formation of the crown of an apple tree is a mandatory procedure for the cultivation of fruit trees. They are suitable for pruning, using the technologies adopted in gardening and trying to avoid common mistakes.

Schemes of the formation of the crown of the apple tree

The purpose of the formation of the apple crown

A clipped apple tree will provide the gardener with a richer apple crop.

Ignoring the formation stage leads to a number of problems.

  • Thickened foliage makes it difficult to freely circulate air currents, which leads to the appearance and development of viral, fungal and bacterial diseases;
  • Dense foliage significantly increases the risk of breaking branches and the appearance on the trunks of long non-healing wounds, becoming the place of penetration of pathogens into the tree bark;
  • Foliage and branches consume most of the organic matter, so nutrition is not enough for the fruit - apples are smaller and lose their gastronomic qualities;
  • Dense foliage does not allow full penetration of sunlight into the thickness of the green mass, slowing down the ripening of the fruits located in it, leading to the loss of their gastronomic characteristics and reduced yield;
  • Branches can not cope with the load from the weight of the fruit, which makes it difficult to care and subsequent harvest.

Time to form apple trees

The formation of the crown begins a year after planting the apple tree, because the root system of a young seedling is not able to deliver the required amount of nutrition to the top.

The tall tops are predominantly shortened, paying less attention to the lower level. Last year’s branches are left intact. they are the strongest and act as a frame.

The annual apple tree is shortened by 1/3 of the shoots.

Subsequently, trees form each year, cutting branches 1/4 of the growth. For this, different times are allowed:

  • spring - until the beginning of active sap flow (in March-April);
  • autumn - the process contributes to the preparation of the garden culture for the upcoming wintering, releasing it from unnecessary stress;
  • in the summer - they do this in rare cases when there is an increased growth of fresh shoots, trying to cut off everything that grows along the skeleton (skeleton).

It is important to maintain a balance between the number of old branches and new shoots, shortening the branches that have grown to the level of the central conductor. The main conductor is left higher.

Cropping patterns

The type of crop is selected depending on the growing conditions.

There are several schemes for the formation of the crown of an apple tree.

Longline discharged

A tiered-sparse scheme is used if the distance between the trees is 3 m or more. General view of the apple tree is obtained in the form of a natural tier.

Usually, pruning is started with snow melting, measuring 0.5 m from the soil surface. At a height of 0.3 m above the stem, an additional mark is made for skeletal branches of the first row. Anything above these marks is subject to deletion.

After a year, young shoots grown on the stem are removed.

Technology involves:

  • saving only one branch at the first level;
  • the formation of two shoots of the second tier at a distance of 0.15 m from the first;
  • selection of the strongest branches growing at a height of 0.5 m above the first tier for the third year of tree crown formation, they will become the future skeleton of an apple tree, while the main branches are left, and the competing ones are removed, the interval between tiers is kept at 0.15 m;
  • laying a new branch, departing from the fresh level of 0.4 m.

In the following seasons, the main trunk is shortened, maintaining the height of the apple tree about 2.5 m.


The cup-shaped technology of pruning the tree crown is more suitable for undersized species.

Such a formation is suitable for semi-dwarf apple trees.

  • Three processes of the first level form at an angle of 120 °.
  • Paired branches are formed by cutting off the processes extending from the conductor at a distance of 0.4 m.
  • The main conductor with a cup-shaped pruning is shortened over the main branch. This can be done immediately or in the second or third year of growth, when the skeleton becomes strong.
  • In order to avoid overgrowing of the crown core, branches extending deep into the area are removed regularly, retaining only small fruit-bearing processes.


The scheme is optimal for apple trees growing near the fence.

The formation period covers about 4 years.

Two processes are stored on each conductor at the conductor, as a result of which the skeletal branches form a flat cap 2 or more meters wide. In this case, the new branches are given an inclined position, and a distance of 0.8 m is maintained between tiers.

Shoots need to be cut annually

The height of the apple tree, formed by a vertical palmette, is regulated by annual pruning of conductors and shoots.


The spindle scheme involves a cut of the main conductor to the kidney. Semi-skeletal branches are shortened at the desired level.

The process lasts for 3 years after disembarkation:

  • start with pruning one-year-old seedlings (they are cut by 1/3);
  • the first tier is formed from branches located in the middle part of the crown, by bending them;
  • in the next season, the conductors and shoots are cut, laying a new level;

When the tree crown reaches a height of about 2.5 m, the conductor is cut over any horizontally growing branch, which ensures the growth of processes.

If horizontal branches grow quickly, the center conductor can be left without pruning. It is worth removing it when it grows to 0.7 m or more. This makes it possible for semi-skeletal branches to grow evenly.


For undersized apple trees, the creeping pruning scheme is more suitable, giving the surface development to the tree.

A small seedling having a flexible trunk is selected. Its apex is shortened by 0.15 m and the trunk is bent, fixing in this position.

In summer (more often this is done in June), the first tier is formed from the side branches.

In the next season, weed removal is carried out, and the remaining branches are shortened, making their length shorter than the conductor. At the same time, a second tier is formed, bending each strong branch.

Further care consists of the sequential removal of upward growing shoots.


The scheme is suitable for growing apple trees in tight spaces.

Cut the seedlings to form them with a bush, begin a year after planting. 5-6 skeletal processes growing at a distance of 0.15 m from each other are selected. The remaining branches are pruned.

The entire shoot is shortened by 1/3, leaving the lower tier longer than the next upper one. The conductor is cut off over the upper branch when the apple skeleton gets stronger.

Whorled tier

According to this technology, 5 branches formed by adjacent buds are left on the lower tier. In the second tier leave 2 branches growing through the bud. The distance between the tiers should be about 0.5-0.6 m.

The conductor is not cut, but is provided with free development into a side branch.


Pruning helps improve crop yields

The scheme is intended for long-lived trees. This technology allows for the next few years to maintain the proper level of productivity, extend fruiting and ensure the quality characteristics of apples.

The anti-aging pruning consists in thinning out the shoots and cleaning the central part of the crown. Cutting angle –45 °.

  • They begin to cut the tree from the top - they shorten the trunk, providing a uniform supply of sunlight to all areas of the crown.
  • Thin out problematic, overly thickened areas;
  • Branches growing at right angles to the central trunk are removed completely;

The time for anti-aging pruning is early spring, summer pruning is acceptable, when in June the apple tree is cut to the maximum, shortening the branches by 3/4;

After the procedure, the garden culture is watered, the stem is covered with whitewash.

Common mistakes

The regular and correct formation of a young apple crown ensures the full development of the garden culture, lays a good harvest, prolongs fruiting and preserves the size and gastronomic qualities of apples.

They carry out the procedure for several years according to one of the schemes, observing the basic rules.

In the process, typical mistakes are often made, leading to a disruption in the process of development of garden culture:

  • with insufficient pruning and thinning, the diameter of the crown increases, as a general rule, by autumn, seedlings that have reached 1 year old must form at least 4 skeletal branches 0.5 m long;
  • when a leading shoot is removed instead of a competing one, the tree diameter decreases, as a general rule, pinch and then completely remove those processes that compete with the leaders.


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