Wild apple trees are an important food for wildlife, but overcrowding within a tree and between neighboring trees can reduce the number of apples they produce. Prune branches and clear around wild apple trees to help them grow more fruit.
There are a lot of apple tree pruning videos, but we like this one best. It’s just over 6 minutes and covers all the basics. Don’t be turned off by the fact that they’re pruning backyard apple trees. The information is just as useful for apple trees in your woodlot.
In addition to pruning, grafting lets an apple tree grow better fruit by attaching a branch from a better apple tree to it. For a fee, the Catskill Forest Association will graft part of your favorite apple tree onto another apple tree to improve the second tree’s fruit.
Trees provide food, dens, and nest sites for wildlife, but some trees are more useful to animals than others. Once you find trees that provide the most value to wildlife, you can cut adjacent trees to give the remaining ones more room to grow.