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alanhely

Advice on an old Apple Tree

Question

Hi and thx for reading.

 

Following moving I'm looking to revitalise an old Apple Tree.

 

This is what it looks like today. I had the old branches removed.

 

From what I read it looks like the vertical branches need removing..... any advice welcome.

 

Thx.

IMG_0646.jpg.5720833ebc6ec2d16fdd0a8454ec97e8.jpg

IMG_0649.jpg.9f140db9e1fb30f7107fea5e9d5c011f.jpg

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The old branches should have been retained and the new growth (vertical shoots) been removed, it is a mature fruit tree which will only be susceptible to light pruning.

 

If it were mine id leave it for a year to recover from this pruning, once it has dropped its flowers next year I would remove the vertical shoots, with a bit of luck on your side it should recover.

 

Im sure someone else will be along shortly to hopefully back this up.

 

Regards

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ouch!

Yes leave it as said in previous post and hope for the best, next year you will have new water shoots everywhere and be best to reduce some and remove others and the large verticals you have to try and regain form over time.

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Oh dear..... Really what can you do now!! ... I'm inclined to agree with the others it looks like the damage has already been done ... I would be inclined maybe to drop them all out now or just the thicker ones and reduce the others too side branches if there is any left... or follow the above advice ... If you do drop all remaing branches don't touch it for atleast 3 years.

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The shape you are trying to produce is a mushroom, that is a single layer of largely horizontal branches. You want a strong permanent structure, with smaller, fruit bearing branches filling in the gaps.

 

I would take the vertical branches out over the next three years, to create more space between them each time, then hope you get some horizontal branches re-growing to fill in the gaps in the structure.

 

Old fruit trees can take some severe cutting back and usually recover, but it will take a fair few years to get the shape back to how it was. Some of the regrowth shoots won't be in the right place - they'll stick vertically upwards like the ones you can see at the moment. These will also want removing as they grow.

 

While you're at it, it would be a good idea to remove the grass from the base, gently by hand as you don't want to damage the bark or roots, and create a weed free circle about 4-6ft across. Give it a good mulch of well rotted compost and it will help it to grow back well.

 

Alec

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a tree of anykind in good health (as is this one) can be brought back and a shape restored.

 

this tree needs a break, just let it be for at least two seasons growth, it needs time to restore photosynthetic area.

 

then as others have said take out those verticals and leave all the new growth till the third season when you will be able to thin it and prune to fruit buds what remains.

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I think the problem with a lot of people is they see an old fruit tree thats just got bigger and bigger, too large for the space in the garden. The fruit is all up high out of sensible reach where only the wasps and the birds seem to benefit. So the kneejerk reaction is to hammer them back in one quick move, rather than gently nurture them. The trouble also is that many fruit tree books talk about how to manage younger stock, to train espalier etc but now how to get a neglected tree back into reasonable shape anid size, and productivity. And its no good turning to your local orchard growers for advice, these trees are well past their sell by date for any serious orchard, and would have been felled years ago. So i dont blame the householder for the action he has taken, but the advice given above is probably the best in this situation.

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Sorry, i dont quite agree Tony, i do work for a commercial organic orchard, and mosses are encouraged, and is found on many thousands of trees there. Something to do with Soil Association requirements IIRC

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The tree appears to have 4 horizontal branches that the vertical water shots are growing from. Starting from next year, remove one vertical water shoot from each of the four horizontal branches. Repeat this process every year for the next four years. This approch will reduce the amount water shoot re-growth. During this you also need to start encouraging more horizontal growth that will produce the fruiting spurs. For a tree of that size you will probably need 4-6 per branch. Once you have the desired number you want prune 2 of the horizontal branches every year cutting out everything that not on the 4-6 fruiting branches. Finally every fifth year do nothing to allow the tree some much needed respite.

In about ten years you should start to get reasonable amounts of fruit. In addition to this for the first ten years i would in june time pick off about 1/2 of the apples that are on the tree, again so the tree does not over excert itself.

 

Clear as mud :thumbup:

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First off as said by others leave the uprights as they are at the moment.

If you remove them now you will probably end up with silver leaf.

this summer you will get a lot of water shoots from the larger cuts,

when this happens let them get to about 12inches then tie them down so they are pointing towards the ground. this will reduce the wood bud forming and increase the fruit bud forming this will reduce the vigor of the new growth.

you will kneed to do this to manage/ control the tree.

next winter start removing the strong upright growth by about 50%.

then remove the rest the following winter.

do you have any other apple trees in your garden, you will kneed some for pollination.

the original frame work of your tree was called delayed open centre.

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