The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Snaking an apple tree

Snaking a treeWhat do you do if your dwarf apple tree is as tall as you want it to get...and it keeps on growing? Whacking the top off a tree is seldom a good idea since that type of pruning often prompts a tree to use up its energy sending out lots of useless watersprouts. Enter a technique known as snaking.

The photo to the right shows one of our high-density apple trees that exceeded Mark's ability to easily reach the top this past summer. As a result, I tied down all of the limbs at the top of the tree so they became horizontal, instead of vertical, branches. Inevitably, one or more of these limbs will bend upwards again next summer, at which point I'll pull the top back down on itself accordion-style. This method of slowing a tree's upward growth prevents the accumulation of watersprouts, while also keeping a tree's fruits within easy reach.

The other alternative? You can do as my older sister did and go out after dark as snow starts to fall and climb your apple tree all by yourself in an effort to reach the fruits at the very tip top. But I can't say I recommend it....

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

We always used ladders, worked for five decades on tall trees, might work for troublesome spots short trees.
Comment by Maggie Turner Mon Nov 3 08:46:41 2014 extend your reach!

But I agree that molding your tree into an easily-picked shape is definitely a more elegant solution. :-)

Comment by Jake Tue Nov 4 02:50:12 2014

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.