Pruning suggestions and did I plant these to high?

I planted 6 apples fall 2019 (mm111) and 3 dwarf pears spring 2019. Any suggestions on pruning? Should I take the top third of the apple whips?

I also think the ground settled and I planted them with the graft union too high. What do you think? Do I need to adjust the soil level?
Sorry for the poor photos. Still need to do some leaf clearing and mulching.


They look fine to me. Where you put the roots is more important than the graft union. Usually plant at same level as the dirt mark on the tree. I wouldn’t cut them anymore except undesirable new growth. Also, it would be advisable to get rid of those flowers as well so you can grow roots instead.

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Don’t sweat it, the roots will grow to where they need to be.

Pruning is fine for this early on. Get yourself some limb spreaders or make your own for the pears.

Maybe look into notching to get yourself another scaffold lower on the tree.

Looks too low to me. I like to see the root flares. If buried deep it takes the tree a year or two to position roots near the surface. The stress can lower it’s immune system and the pests smell the stress hormones and go to the tree. With apple trees and the various rootstocks, depth strategy may be different as some rootstocks have weak roots. I don’t know I don’t grow apples. In general it’s best to plant trees on mounds and as shallow as possible. You should position the graft union to the north to avoid sun exposure.

The rule of thumb is for non-dwarfing root stocks to be planted at the union and leave soil at least 2 inches below the union on dwarfing rootstocks, depending on how high you plan to have mulch, I suppose, although one tries to keep the mulch form the trunk.

Do mulch the trees and disallow any weed or grass competition for at least the first couple years- better, until trees are bearing substantial crops, IMO.

I am talking about bare root whips. Balled trees or trees that are actually growing in pots should usually be planted very slightly above the line of their rootballs. Often potted trees have only shortly been in pots and the mix falls away from the roots when removed from the pot.

Isn’t the rule of thumb on dwarfing Apple rootstocks to plant a bit deeper (but above graft Union)?

I think some of these ended up with the union 3-4 inches above the surrounding soil. I definitely didn’t foresee how the ground would settle over the winter. I originally tried to plant them just above the soil level but I don’t really whether they were high at planting. I’ll measure today when I go out to do the weeding and remove those flowers.

If they are too high is there anything I can do at this point? The graft unions on some of these seem really far from the root ball.

I would plant relative to root flare/roots and not worry much about union height (so long as its above the soil level). Graft union height seems to vary quit a lot depending on where was the most convenient to graft/bud the tree (my trees varied between 2-6 inches).

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