Q. My apple tree is still full of leaves and hasn’t lost one yet. Should we wait to prune once it starts losing leaves or is it okay to prune in the next couple of weeks? The leaves have turned a purply brownish color but are still very much alive.
A. Go ahead and prune. We have not had a freeze hard enough to knock off the leaves. The tree is fully asleep for the winter.
Actually you can start pruning fruit trees as soon as they stop growing in late fall. We normally wait until leaf drop because we can’t see where to make the pruning cuts easily. You can also wait to prune until near February and that will be fine as well.
Leaves can be removed by running your hands down the branches if they are in reach. Try shaking the limbs or rap them lightly with a broom and they should drop as well.
If you want the leaves to drop on their own, turn off the water to the tree until leaves begin dropping and then resume your irrigations as needed.
As for me, I would just wait for normal leaf drop if it is difficult to see where to prune.