If you have not done so, by now, the time for pruning your apple tree has come, before the trees wake up from their winter slumber. Pruning an apple tree can be a daunting task, but I will try to help you by keeping it simple. 1. Prune away any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. 2. Remove any sprouts from the base of trunk. (suckers) 3. Remove the perfect vertical branches from main branches. (watersprouts) 4. Remove any branches that grow downward, or cross paths with another branch. 5. Prune back 20 to 30 percent of last years growth. You want shorter and thicker branches so they can support their fruit load. Pruning a fruit tree is an art and just like most things in life you just have to get out there and do it. If you make a mistake, it's o.k., the tree will keep growing. Pruning is essential if you want a healthy apple tree. Pruning allows air and sunlight into your tree, which allows you to reap the best fruit. An old Yankee farmer once gave advice to a stranger that one should prune your apple tree so that one could throw the family milk cow between the branches. You got to appreciate the old farmer's humor! Good luck and Happy Spring!