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Pidgeonpost

Large Bramley apple tree - what to do?

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We've got a large Bramley apple tree in our garden, and it either needs major attention or removal. It's been pruned fairly heavily in the 10 years we've lived here, plus some fairly random annual pruning by me, out of desperation. 

It produces loads of apples - far too many for us to pick, use, store, or even give away. Everyone has too many apples and we can't even keep pace with the windfalls as you're talking of wheelbarrow loads each week. 

A local tree surgeon has said he could either remove or pollard the tree, and those seem to be the choices. Removal would be reasonably straightforward, but would pollarding just see us back in the same situation in a short time? 

It might not be so bad if we could slow the growth down, but it's rampant! Did I dream it or can you slow the growth by partially ring-barking on opposite sides of the tree? 

The tree provides some welcome shade at some times of the year - or steals the sunlight depending how you look at it! 

Interested in opinions. Pic attached - tree is 20+feet tall and climbing trees to prune them is a bit iffy now I'm 70+.

 

IMG_20200815_153203.jpg

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@Pidgeonpost  that is a very big apple tree ! However they are of great significance to the enviroment , so I would say reduce it appropriately , at the right time of year . Gauging just from the pic , a good 4m of overextended laterals with a crown thin will greatly reduce fruit fall . Basically reduction by thinning out the longer branches.  But yr lucky to have such a fine tree . K

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Tree surgeon is right, you can hit it hard and it’ll be fine, or take it out, the choice is yours.

 

Khriss you can’t treat an apple like an ancient oak.

Edited by Mick Dempsey
Well you can, but it’s a costly and pointless exercise for all concerned.
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You can hit it hard but you will get a load of water shoots. If you cut these out as they develop and create a manageable framework, it should be good to retain and not produce overwhelming fruit,  if you don’t manage them you will be back to square one in a few seasons.

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Best would be wait till winter. Depending on age of the tree, cut back large cuts to give yourself an open center fruit tree. Do cuts over a few seasons to get it back to  a manageable size. Key first cuts is to open up the center. You have lots of centre growth which is part of the issue with the tree, you will get healthier happier fruit with more light and air going through the open centre when done. 

 

I have been working on a fairly old Orchard and cutting back some fairly overstood fruit trees which need a lot of cutting back. Don't take out more than 50% of the in a season. Do your major cuts about 3 big cuts one season and work towards the smaller cuts over the following seasons. 

 

It takes a bit of work, but within a couple of seasons you will have a healthy and productive fruit tree, which will be helpful to the wildlife and yourself and shame to take out old fruit trees. Not many of them about anymore. 

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1 hour ago, Mick Dempsey said:

Tree surgeon is right, you can hit it hard and it’ll be fine, or take it out, the choice is yours.

 

Khriss you can’t treat an apple like an ancient oak.

How do you know how i treat my ancient oaks!!  A good reduction will lower fruiting fr a bit. Wouldn't like to see it go - but its their tree in the end. K

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As AJ says you need to take the center out . The black art of pruning fruit trees !   Shame . A happy tree in an unhappy place .

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29 minutes ago, Peasgood said:

Wish it were mine. Lovely tree.

I was thinking the same, but I've got a few acres to spare so plenty of room. (And a load of wild deer that would hoover up the windfalls.)

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Prune hard in winter then summer prune the water shoots following year at this time of year

 

PTES.ORG

What is summer pruning? Summer fruit tree pruning contains the size of your tree to the form you have chosen, in...

 

Or remove but that would be a reall shame imo even if you don't use the apples

 

 

 

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