Pruning ornamental apple - this way it stays in shape

Pruning ornamental apple - this way it stays in shape

Instructions for winter pruning

An ornamental apple gets its central shape and maintenance cut during the leafless winter time. This choice of dates reduces the stress for the wood to a minimum. You also have a clear view of the branches at this time of year, which is advantageous for both a large shrub and a small tree. Ideally, you should proceed in 2 stages, which we will explain in more detail here:

also read

  • Blooming, green wall and decorative privacy screen - the crabapple hedge
  • Tips for using crabapple
  • When is crabapple in full bloom?

Thin out

  • Cut off all the dead wood at the base of the crabapple bush
  • Remove dead branches from a tree top on astring
  • Cut away the weaker specimen from branches that are too close or that rub against each other
  • Prune or completely cut off shoots that are steeply upwards or inwards


  • Shorten branches that are too long by one to two thirds
  • Place the loppers a few millimeters above an outward-facing eye
  • In shrubs, cut off 3 to 4 of the oldest shoots close to the ground every 2 years with the aim of rejuvenation

At the end of the main cut in late winter, the tree crown or shrub is so airy that the sun's rays can reach all regions in the ornamental apple. Thanks to this incision, you effectively prevent balding from the inside out.

Cut the crabapple hedge into a trapezoid shape

The majority of crabapple varieties reach a height of 400 to 600 cm that keeps prying eyes away from the property. The ornamental trees are therefore ideally suited to a magnificent privacy hedge. So that Malus hybrids create a lavish flower and leaf dress every year, a cut to the trapezoidal shape has proven to be the best.

It is characterized by a broad base that tapers towards the top. In combination with sloping sides, you create a light-flooded hedge in which aging has no chance. Cords stretched between wooden stakes serve as your orientation during the cutting work.

Summer pruning is used to raise a standard trunk - that's how it works

A crabapple naturally strives to grow as a large shrub. If you want to raise the wood to a high trunk, ideally prune your Malus hybrid in early summer from June. How to do it right:

  • Starting from the base, remove excess side shoots up to the level of the crown
  • Position the scissors so that the branch collar (thickening between trunk and branch) is not damaged
  • Dust cuts with charcoal ash or primary rock flour

Please check the game underlay regularly during the entire vegetation period. Wild shoots sometimes sprout here, which not only disfigure an ornamental apple, but also require an unnecessary expenditure of energy. You can tear off such branches with a brave jerk.


Ornamental apples make a valuable contribution to improving the harvest yield in the orchard. Popular varieties such as 'Evereste' or 'Golden Hornet' act as excellent pollen donors for cultivated apple trees.