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echoechoecho

Apple trees

Question

We have a couple of old apple trees with issues.

 

First is this little tree which is not anchored well into the ground and can moved with the lightest touch, despite the timber props. It still produces apples, so not completely dead yet. Can anything be done, it just a case of leaving it alone or fell and replace?

 

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Second is this larger apple tree. It has been neglected for many years and the weight of the lower fork is dragging it over. Can this be cut off, or is that too drastic for an old tree? It still produces a lot of fruit every year.

 

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Cheers,

Mark

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Apples on the smaller dwarfing  rootstocks often have a  tendency to tip over/need extra support as do bigger old ones sometimes

 

 I would leave  both alone if you like the apples they produce.

 

If your keen to get rid bur still have the apples you could graft from them.

 

 

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Small trees are small because they are grafted onto rootstocks that will only ever produce small roots. They need staking throughout their life. To cure that one I would get a bigger stake in and secure it with a proper tree tie. String, wire etc will cut in too much. Do that and it should have a long life yet.

 

Without seeing the whole of the other tree it is difficult to be sure but from the pic I see no reason why not to cut off the lower branch. Paint the wound with something to keep disease out if possible but there aren't many effective products available any more.

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I thought Shigo had decided now it was beter not to paint wounds?

 

 

 

WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK

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I see they also sell white paint from trunks but seem a more of as thing in other countries

 

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I think cutting the lower branch will increase the time it takes to hit the floor but it's not just that branch pulling it over - every bit of tree on that side of the stump is contributing to pulling that way and it's probably inevitable it will carry on moving. You can put in a timber prop if you like or leave it to do its thing.

Painting wounds is not modern best practice. People sell stuff because people buy it, but not arborists.

Old trees like this are in terminal decline, but they still have a lot of wildlife value for many years yet.

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On 30/01/2021 at 21:47, Dan Maynard said:

Painting wounds is not modern best practice. People sell stuff because people buy it, but not arborists.

I was reading a study on this the other day. A good pruning cut made with a clean (dipped in a bleach solution) tool will heal itself quite quickly. Products like arbrex stop the tree naturally healing. After time in the sun the arbrex cracks and falls off and leaves the exposed, unhealed wood which starts to absorb water and be a permanent open wound for infection to get in. 

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I have found two things with large cuts on apple trees, firstly that it is a very likely place for silverleaf to find its way in. Seen it many times to the point I am very reluctant to make such cuts if it can be avoided. In my opinion on a garden scale painting the wound is not a bad idea, even with emulsion or something. Silverleaf is a big threat to the tree but it could well be that my trees have an increased risk because they are in orchards rather than gardens (just surmising that it makes a difference)

 

Secondly, if you make a big cut, especially if you use a chainsaw, it very much helps healing if you tidy up the cut with a very sharp knife. Cut/shave a little bark off to make the join between the softwood and the bark/cambium layer as smooth as possible. The callous forms much better and quicker if you do this, paint or no paint.

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I read about wound sealers this evening, and according to the RHS it should be used when removing branches infected with apple canker to prevent reinfection. If no disease is present they recommend not sealing the cut.

Peasgood - do you mean very slightly chamfer the cut edge?

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5 hours ago, echoechoecho said:

Peasgood - do you mean very slightly chamfer the cut edge?

Yes, exactly that.

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