How to Prune an Overgrown Apricot Tree – Guide to Control Shape

Pruning an overgrown apricot tree may be difficult, particularly for beginners. With the correct tools and skills, it can be easy and gratifying. In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to prune an overgrown apricot tree to ensure it remains healthy and productive.

What is Apricot Pruning?

Apricot tree pruning keeps apricots in form. It includes removing dead, damaged, or diseased wood and thinning branches to increase airflow and sunlight.

When Should You Prune an Apricot Tree?

During the dormant season, which is late winter or early spring, apricot trees should be trimmed. This is due to the fact that pruning now will encourage new development and give the tree time to heal before the next growing season. To give the pruning wounds time to heal, apricots in damp winter climates should be clipped in late August.

Why Prune an Overgrown Apricot Tree?

There are several reasons to prune an apricot tree. Pruning keeps the tree manageable and fruit harvesting simpler. Second, it encourages fruiting wood development, which boosts tree production. Thirdly, pruning removes dead, damaged, or diseased wood, improving tree health.

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How to Prune an Overgrown Apricot Tree

Tools Needed

Before pruning an apricot tree, you will need the following tools:

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Hand saw
  • Pole saw (if the tree is too tall)

Step-by-Step Process

  • Remove any broken shoots or limbs.
  • Remove narrow-crotched branches that grow up rather than out.
  • Remove any ground-level branches.
  • Cut the trunk to 36 inches. (91 cm.).
  • Thin out cross-rubbing branches.
  • Remove obstructions and unhealthy wood.
  • Don’t head sprouts from the tree’s core. Cut them back to an upright branch.

Pruning Tips

When pruning an apricot tree, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Avoid pruning in damp weather.
  • Avoid tree damage by cutting cleanly using sharp instruments.
  • Trim to a healthy, outward-facing bud or branch.
  • Remove no more than 25% of the tree’s canopy every year.

After Pruning Care

Keep your apricot tree healthy and fruitful after pruning. To promote development, water the tree thoroughly throughout the growing season. Spring and autumn, feed the tree a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10. Mulch around the tree to keep it wet and weed-free.

Common Apricot Tree Pruning Mistakes

While pruning an apricot tree can be beneficial, there are several common mistakes that people make that can harm the tree. These include:

  • Overpruning weakens trees and reduces fruit output.
  • Removing too much cover might expose the tree to sunlight and illness.
  • Pruning at the incorrect time might stress the tree and diminish fruit output.
  • Cutting trees using dull instruments.
How to Prune an Overgrown Apricot Tree
Yair Aronshtam from Israel, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How do you prune a large apricot tree?

Pruning apricot trees helps them develop and produce more fruit. As fresh leaves and blooms emerge in late winter or early spring, prune an apricot tree. As the tree grows, pruning wounds heal fast.

To prune a large apricot tree, the following steps should be taken:

  • Avoid heading the branches and cut them back to upright growth. Heading cuts branch tips without considering the branch’s development pattern, which may weaken and misstructure growth.
  • Remove sprouts from the tree’s core and any dead, diseased, or interfering branches.
  • Crossing or rubbing branches may produce wounds that invite bugs and illnesses.
  • Remove some of the tree’s lesser branches to improve ventilation and light penetration.
  • Sharp pruning shears and a pruning saw provide clean, fast-healing wounds. To avoid illness, sanitize instruments using rubbing alcohol, disinfectant, or 10% bleach.
  • In rainy winter climates, prune apricots in late August so the pruning wounds may heal before winter. Pruning in rainy weather increases disease and insect risk.

Avoid pruning more than 20% of an apricot tree’s previous year’s growth. Overpruning may diminish fruit output and weaken the tree.

What shape should I prune my apricot tree?

Pruning an apricot tree should maintain a balanced form for even development and fruit output. Select and maintain three to five trunk-derived scaffold limbs to do this. These limbs should be 18–36” tall and point in different directions. This controls tree form and promotes scaffold limb development.

Your apricot tree has to be pruned at the proper time of year. Before the buds grow, prune in late winter or early spring during the dormant season. Because you can see the tree’s structure and it’s less vulnerable to disease, this is the perfect time to prune. Regrowth after pruning throughout the growing season might be harmful.

Using sharp, sterilized instruments is essential for pruning. Remove dead or damaged timber and crossed or rubbing branches. Remove any tree-base water sprouts or suckers. Creating an open core in the tree will improve air circulation and sunshine penetration, resulting in healthier fruit.

Location and climate affect apricot tree pruning. California apricot trees should be trimmed early autumn, at least six weeks before winter rains. To minimize illness, prune apricots late winter to early spring in damp winter locations.


Pruning an overgrown apricot tree may seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a simple and rewarding experience. You can make sure that your tree is healthy and fruitful for many years to come by following the instructions provided in this article.



What is the best way to prune an overgrown apricot tree?

The easiest technique to prune an overgrown apricot tree is to take out any broken or damaged shoots and limbs, take away branches with a small crotch, reduce the main stem, thin out any branches that cross or rub against one another, and take off interfering limbs, dead, and diseased wood. It’s crucial to use sharp instruments to cut cleanly and to prevent overpruning.

How do you prevent apricot trees from getting overgrown?

It’s critical to routinely prune apricot trees to keep them from becoming overgrown. This include taking off any dead, damaged, or diseased wood in addition to thinned out the canopy to enhance airflow and sunshine penetration. Regular fertilization and watering of the tree is also necessary to promote healthy development.

Can you prune an apricot tree in the fall?

The dormant season, which is late winter or early spring, is the proper time to prune apricot trees. The danger of illness might rise with autumn pruning.

How tall should an apricot tree be?

The ideal height for an apricot tree depends on the variety, but it should generally be between 12 and 15 feet tall.

Can a tree recover after excessive pruning?

Although it could take a few years for trees to entirely recover from overpruning, it is possible.

Can you cut the top off a fruit tree?

A fruit tree’s top should normally not be removed since this might weaken the tree and decrease fruit yield.

How do you prune a fruit tree that is too tall?

A fruit tree’s height may be decreased by completely removing tall, upright branches or by pruning them down to strategically positioned, strong lateral branches that stretch horizontally below 18 feet.

What should you do with the timber that was pruned?

Prunings from trees may be composted, mulched, or utilized as fuel. To stop the spread of illness, any infected wood must be properly disposed of.

How often should you prune an apricot tree?

To maintain their size and form, apricot trees need to be trimmed annually. The amount of trimming necessary, however, will depend on the health and growth pace of the tree.

Can you prune an apricot tree when it’s fruiting?

Pruning an apricot tree when it is in fruit is typically not advised since it might affect the quantity and quality of the fruit. During the dormant season, pruning should be done.

How long does it take for an apricot tree to recover from pruning?

An apricot tree’s complete recovery following pruning might take many years. Pruning, however, may encourage new growth and boost a tree’s production if done correctly.

Can you prune an apricot tree in stages?

To prevent straining the tree, you may prune an apricot tree gradually over a number of years. Start by removing the wood that is the most harmed or infected, and then progressively thin down the canopy over a few years.

How much of an apricot tree can you prune in one year?

The canopy of an apricot tree shouldn’t be cut down by more than 25% in a single year. A tree may get stressed and produce fewer fruits if the canopy is cut down too much.

How do you know if an apricot tree needs pruning?

If an apricot tree has dead or broken wood, if the branches are crossing or rubbing against one another, or if the canopy is too thick and blocking off adequate sunshine, trimming may be necessary. To maintain the tree’s size and form, as well as to encourage healthy development and fruit production, it is crucial to prune it on a regular basis.

Can you prune an apricot tree that’s never been pruned before?

The answer is yes, you may prune an apricot tree that has never been pruned before, but you must be cautious not to over-prune. Start by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased wood, and over the course of a few years, progressively thin down the canopy. The tree’s size and form will be preserved, and this will encourage fruit production and healthy development.

Related Posts:

When to Prune Apricot Trees in California – Growing Care Guide

How to Prune Apricot Trees in Winter: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Prune a 4 Year Old Apple Tree (in UK and US)

How to Prune Young Apple Trees: A Comprehensive Guide


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