Care of the Orchard "The Pruning-book; a Monograph of the Pruning and Training of Plants as Applied to American Conditions" by Liberty Hyde Bailey, 1898 Pruning is done late in the winter while the apple trees are dormant. Trimming and removing branches in a controlled way is necessary in order to shape the tree, allowing maximum sunlight to reach all the fruit. Apples develop their best skin color with full sunlight during the last few weeks before harvest. Apple buds appear in early spring and the tree blossoms a few weeks later. In order to develop into an apple, the blossom must be cross-pollinated from a different variety of apple. Farmers set beehives throughout their orchards, for honeybees are efficient pollinators. A tree will begin to bear fruit between three and five years of age.