Q: I have an apple tree that I have never thinned or pruned aside from shaping it. It’s getting really thick inside and I have no idea what to do.
A: Prune the apple tree in three steps. First, remove any dead or dying branches. Second, take out vertical “water sprouts” in the center of the tree. Most will be the diameter of your thumb or less. Third, examine the remaining branches and selectively prune away those that shade another vigorous limb a few feet beneath them. The best time to do the pruning is in January but you can walk around the tree now and make plans for your future attack.