Pruned trees photos and questions

Came across these three trees today and I’m hoping to get comments on the way they’re pruned. (Sorry the photos aren’t clearer, but I couldn’t go onto private property to get the light right.)

It looks to me that they were tidying up these trees after having pruned them back well the year before (2021), and didn’t get to the leafy one before the bad weather set in. to my thinking they did a good job - the trees are open and airy, reasonably accessible, and lots of bearing-age wood that should spur up. now.

The tree on the far left looks to be completely pruned, and the one on the far right needs a little further thinning, especially of water sprouts, and the one in the middle is due.

I’m about to tell a friend who’s tackling his beat up old Wealthy that he should aim for the tree on the left.

Comments and thoughts please!


Hi Mark,
I actually pruned my mature Cortland and Tompkins King this week. They look a lot like these. I did need to do quite a bit of thinning where fruit bearing limbs were just too thick. Also pruned off the majority of water shoots where they were not needed to fill in empty spaces. In several cases I did tight down some verticals to a near horizontal level to fill in empty spaces and I am retraining them by tying then down. Fortunately, I don’t have deer close by so I can keep all my scaffolds within an easy reach without a ladder. I am enjoying the ease of caring for these trees now that I can reach all fruit while standing on the ground. So I think your pics illustrate a very nice method for most apple trees.
Kent, wa