Pruning Mistake - Mature Apple Tree

I recently moved to a 5 acre property and inherited 4 20+ year old apple trees. The one in question produces green apples and is a full sized apple tree with no pruning or management. So yea, it’s BIG. Anyhow, I’m making an attempt to reel it in to get decent fruit.

Point being, I made a bad flat cut on a 3 inch branch. I’m worried about water sitting on it leading to decay and disease. Any suggestions on how I can mitigate the damage? I don’t have much space left to cut it again.


I’d cut it again, with a sharp saw and no notching like in the picture…and put some slope on the cut. (You did better than I did yesterday on my 29 year old Fuji…I did cuts without notching and got a bit of bark peeling with the final draw of the saw.) Saps up, should have been done a month ago ideally. I also added six varieties to my ‘Frankentree’ yesterday.

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Appreciate it. That’s what I’ll do.

I actually had another one with decent peeling. Missed my under cut… Are you just planning on leaving it and letting the tree deal with it?

Also, lots of people with Franentree’s around here. I think I’m gonna have to dabble in that!

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I have too many irons in the fire, so my imperfect cuts will just have to be OK or not. A 30 year tree on M7 isn’t going to last forever anyhow–and I plan to plant new trees this spring between them…with the intention that within 5 years or less I cut the old ones out. Pruning is often with ‘good intentions’ but I don’t get around to it nearly as often as desirable.

On the Frankentree, I watched Skillcult’s YOUTUBE video about 3 years ago and started mine. I now have started a second one on a 5th leaf seedling tree. The grafts that take good are apt to bear sooner than benchgrafting even on B9 or M9. Good luck with the multi-grafts.

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one more thought:

You made the right cut, but ideally would have been 6 to 12 inches farther from the trunk…then you’d have had plenty room to come back with that third clean cut!

You scared me for a minute there - at first I thought you were advocating leaving a 6"-12" stubb! But then I reread it and realized what you meant. :slight_smile:

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I see. So you are advocating for an initial cut 6"-12" off the trunk (or main branch in this case) then come back for the final cut when there’s less to have to deal with?


Yep, but I didn’t practice what I’m preaching yesterday with my own trees :no_mouth:

Haha, I hear ya! Awesome. That’s a great idea. Thanks for the pruning lesson!