The tree should be headed about thirty-six inches above the soil surface. This will encourage new lateral branching.
When new growth is three to four inches long, it should be cut out, leaving only a few branches every two feet or so on the tree.
Trimming apple trees that have matured should take place in the winter. This will encourage new growth until the desired size has been reached.
The tree should be trimmed to have a scaffold shape, with a layer of branches growing perpendicular to the trunk every two feet or so. This type of shape will allow for sunlight to reach the lower leaves and fruit.
Once the desired size of tree has been reached, trimming apple trees can be done in the summer. This will help to stunt new growth, as all the energy of the tree goes into creating fruit.
The fruit grown by an apple tree is often too heavy for the tree to support it alone. Many of the apples will fall to the ground naturally, but manual thinning should be done as well.
When trimming apple tree fruit, the fruit should be thinned down to about one apple every four to six inches. This will provide for larger, healthier fruit.