It seems that the more we cut off water sprouts from apple trees, the more there are the next year. Is there a technique to prevent reappearance of water sprouts?
Farmer Daves Reply
There are two kinds of water sprouts, those that sprout from the root stock and the water sprouts that sprout from anywhere in the tree. The water sprouts that sprout from the center of the tree are usually in the lower part of the tree by the base in the lower laterals. Some people also refer to the rapid top growth of the tree as water sprouts but I don't think that is an accurate term for the top growth.
It seems to me that fruit trees in particular pears and apples put on a lot of water sprouts in their younger years pretty much no matter what. I cut them off the root stock and also out of the center of the trees every year. I occasionally leave strong water sprouts on the main laterals to use as a replacement branch if I need too. The more you prune the more trees bush out, so if you prune less you will get less new growth in general and less water sprouts. I suggest pruning the proper amounts and just prune out the water sprouts.
If you find a way to slow down or prevent water sprouts do let me know.