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Apple tree/clematis/mistletoe advice

(2 Posts)
peardroplets Mon 12-Sep-16 12:04:31

We have just moved into a new house and there is an old cooking apple tree in the front garden. It is about 80% covered with clematis and only produced about 5 apples on the small section of the tree that is not covered. To encourage more fruit, I would like to get rid of the clematis entirely or if not cut it right back but it looks like it has been there years as it has some thick woody trunks at the bottom of the tree and it is totally wound up inside the tree.

There are also two beautiful bunches of mistletoe inside the tree which I don't want to disturb. I'm nervous to do anything to the clematis in case it upsets some delicate ecosystem which is supporting the mistletoe too.

If I take back the clematis, is the apple tree likely to fruit in the areas that have been covered for so long? Or do branches just die back if they are covered by another plant never to fruit again? Will the mistletoe be happier with or without the clematis? So many questions sorry but any advice is most welcome.

PurpleWithRed Mon 12-Sep-16 12:10:46

Some photos would help.

It depends on what's going on under the clematis - it may be that branches have died, but probably not. However, if there are lots of dead branches the clematis might look better!

If it's a clematis montana they can get pretty big. You could cut it back but it would be an ongoing saga - its roots would want the top to regrow to the same size. I don't think removing it would cause a problem to the mistletoe - mistletoe grows in very exposed conditions in trees normally.

So the tl:dr version of all that is if the apple branches under the clematis are still alive chop back the clematis; take it right out if you want. You could replace it with a climbing rose or a less overwhelming clematis (one you cut down in spring that flowers later in the year would be best).

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