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How to save an old apple tree?

(5 Posts)
Lua Tue 03-May-05 13:14:59

Hi All,
Last year we bought a house that came with two very old apple trees. I was very excited about them, but after last season it became clear that they are in a very poor state of health. The put flowers out and ven some poor looking tiny apples. BUt most of the branches remain bare and are very brittle. I think they have wilt. At their current state I am tempted to cut them down, but my heart aches to do this to such an old and respectful tree. Anyone knows if I can help them out before I have to cut them down?

tiddlypom Tue 03-May-05 13:22:27

TBH I think most books would say cut them down and plant a variety you like, if you want fruit - because they sound in a very bad way.

Or, you could plant a climber to cover them, so using the apple tree as a support. There's a thread on this a bit lower down which you could look at.

I've done radical pruning on my old apple tree, but it was in a much better state than yours sound, and even then I felt it was touch and go whether I should keep it.

Milliways Wed 04-May-05 16:49:09

My DH threatens to cut down one of our old apple trees every year. It is almost hollow at the bottom - looks like something burrowed into it - and very frail looking. We had a tree surgeon cut out loads of old/deads wood branches about 3 yrs ago which really helped, but whilst it continues to blossom I want to keep it.

Could you get a tree surgeon to give you a free quote for sorting it - or his recommendations on if it is worth keeping?

Lua Thu 05-May-05 15:43:20

Thanks for your suggestions. I guess I should try giving a good cut!
How does one find a tree surgeon BTW?

tiddlypom Sun 08-May-05 14:52:50

If you can, ask your neighbours/people at school for recommendations. Otherwise they're listed in Yellow Pages.

If you don't want the expense, you could just try doing it yourself, since you've got nothing to lose (ie if they die, it won't be such a tragedy). If you do that, plan to do it gradually over 3 years, starting - in autumn/winter - with dead branches. You'll need to get a book to show you how - there are plenty out there. I used the RHS encyclopedia of gardening - your library might have it. I heard a good tip on Radio 4 - do pruning with a friend who can tell you to stop if you're being too radical! Dh had to tell me to stop with my apple tree - I basically denuded one half of the tree, it wouldn't have made any leaves if I'd carried on.

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