Pruning -Apple trees to be placed in the ground

I am starting a new home orchard and I am learning along the way. I know this probably is not the best approach but I figured I would just jump right in. I am planning on planting a 7-9 apple trees in the ground over the next week. On another post I listed everything I plan on planting this fall. I appreciate the help I have received so far. I have been collecting trees and wanted to wait until the fall to plant them since I needed to clear the area of trees etc. The apple tree branches are lanky and the leaves appear to be in bunches at the top and or end of the branches. I would like to control the height of the trees. Do I prune them when I plant them? Do I wait until they go dormant?. The top of the branches probably reach 8-9 ft. should I prune them to lower the height. I have tried to attach pictures so you can see how they are growing… The trees in the pictures are wolf apple, arkansas black and a granny smith. I do not know the actual rootstock just that they are semi-dwarf. Any assistance is appreciated.

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Do not prune anything until the middle winter. What to remove in January, any branches growing strait up, and branches forked closely together, such as, the branch to the right of the white label in the picture with the 5 blue and one orange bucket

Thanks. I have another question. I am reading Grow a Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph. She states that trees should be pruned to knee-high. Is that something that a lot of growers do. Is this something that is done to whips?

That is defiantly something only to be done to bare rooted whips. Bare rooted trees have likely lost a lot of energy reserves trying to support a lot of existing growth is very straining. reducing down produces new growth thats supportable by the amount of roots and branching for more potential fruiting wood.

Then again the tree in that third image, you might want to consider it as a candidate for top working in the future.


I’m new to growing fruit trees and learning as I go.
I purchased Grow a Little Fruit Tree before I started my mini orchard this past spring. The book is a fantastic read and quiet interesting in my opinion. I applied what I have learned thus far and more than pleased with my results. You make a cut and the tree responds. I have emailed her with questions and responds in a reasonable amount of time. The knee high cut can be applied to whips and feathered trees. What I have learned so far is that the low branches are easy targets for rabbits, I will prune a little higher with my next trees that I grafted this spring. When I noticed the bark/ branches chewed, I immediately surrounded my group of newly planted trees with a rabbit proof fence and sprayed a deer and rabbit repellent as a little extra protection. No more rabbits gnawing on my fruit trees.