Badly pruned apple tree

Discussion in 'Trees' started by Tmuk, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. Tmuk

    Tmuk Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi, hope you don't mind me asking for some advice. I've recently moved into a new house with a very unruly apple tree in the garden. From the little research I've done it looks like it was badly pruned in the past and has sprouted branches everywhere as a consequence. I feel embarrassed every time I look out the window! There are no obvious leader branches - is there anything I can do other than just lopping everything back to the trunk and starting again?

    Many thanks!

    *Edit* I don't seem to be able to post an image yet...
     
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    • WeeTam

      WeeTam Total Gardener

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      Im sure youll be able to sort it out. Someone will be along to point you in the right direction. Im hopeless at pruning trees.:hate-shocked:
       
    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      I may be able to give some advice and I'm sure there are others on here that will help. We'll need to wait until you can post some photos.

      Maybe @Fat Controller can advise you on posting photos. :blue thumb:
       
    • Tmuk

      Tmuk Apprentice Gardener

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      Thanks for the replies so far!
      Having another go at posting an image....
      [​IMG]
       
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      • Tmuk

        Tmuk Apprentice Gardener

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        Seems I need one "like" before I can post a picture..?
         
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        • Selleri

          Selleri Super Gardener

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          "Like"s done, it's a common feature in discussion forums to not give full rights to newly joined people, for a reason. But obviously for normal genuine people it is a bit of a hassle. Sorry about the nuisance and a warm welcome :sign0016:
           
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          • Fat Controller

            Fat Controller Cuddly 'NEW SHED' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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            Not aware that this is the case, but you have a couple now :)

            I will keep an eye on this thread for replies, so if you are still having problems, I will help you :)
             
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            • Mike Allen

              Mike Allen Total Gardener

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              I admit I am not a fruity man. OK ladies, calm down:smile::smile: I do however know that two main features apply to pruning trees, albeit fruit or ordinary. That the center of the tree needs to be kept open. With fruit trees or bushes, the same plus recognising the difference between fruit buds and new stem/branch growth. In general practice, trees, bushes roses. Always prune to allow an outward facing bud to develop. In the case of fruit buds. Get to know what they look like, perhaps some may be facing toward the crown, remember these are fruit buds.
              If I may. I agree a badly pruned fruit tree is an eyesore. Just a suggestion. Much depending upon your location and size of your garden. For shall we say the average garden owner. Growing fruit trees of whatever species. Have a go at cordons. Often here on gardening froums the question is asked. What can I grow against a wall. Go on. Give it a go.
               
            • Fat Controller

              Fat Controller Cuddly 'NEW SHED' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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              I've just given this a coat of looking at because I was curious as to why you couldn't post a photo without a like (as I say, I know many forums do this, but didn't think we did); it appears that you have tried to post a photo hosted on Google photos/Google Drive using image tags, however the link itself is not dynamic - even if I try to open it on its own in a separate window it won't open the image.

              The easiest way to host a photo here is to either 'drag and drop' the photo into the post text box, or click on the 'Upload a File' button that lives just below the bottom right of the post text box - once it has uploaded, you can then click on the displayed button to insert the image as a full image into your post.

              Please do come back to me if you need more help though :)
               
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              • shiney

                shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                I do the simple drag and drop. I go to my photos on the computer, highlight what I want to post, do a 'restore down' (make that page half the screen) and drag it into the box where you type your post. It will take some seconds to transfer and should show a moving scroll in the top right of your screen (mine is in black).

                Good luck. :blue thumb:
                 
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                • Tmuk

                  Tmuk Apprentice Gardener

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                  Many thanks everybody, let's try again...

                  IMG_20191117_152826659.jpg
                   
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                  • Tmuk

                    Tmuk Apprentice Gardener

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                    And a close up. It looks to me like someone's pruned it right back to the trunk at some point.

                    IMG_20191124_142107979.jpg
                     
                  • Tmuk

                    Tmuk Apprentice Gardener

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                    Thanks for the reply Mike! The tree is where I'd ideally like to put a shed, but it's lovely having mature trees in your garden, and I'd have a long wait for a new one to grow!

                     
                  • Mike Allen

                    Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                    Tmuk, my friend. Lets talk about this. You have this apple tree, that in your opinion has been badly pruned etc. You now find yourself with mixed feelings. You also now have your eyes set on a new shed.

                    May I offer some advice? Bad prunning or whatever. Do you get a good harvest of fruit? Is the fruit in good condition or is it somewhat mangy? This I would say is the main point. All said and done. One expects a fruit tree/bush to reward you with fine fruits. The fruits have to be the deciding factor. Not upto me but. The photo suggests the tree is in the wrong spot. Me I would get shot of the tree and get your shed.

                    To be honest. Most gardeners find themselves play host to the wrong tree etc in a small garden. Look my friend. If you really do want an apple, pear, plum or whatever tree in your garden. Browse the web and catalogues. Fruit trees are produced in their millions by specialised nurseries/ growers using different root stocks. Please tak time and browse. Best wishes.
                     
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                    • Graham B

                      Graham B Gardener

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                      Having done the chopping-back-to-the-trunk thing on my apple tree, I'd say don't be afraid of it. It'll take 3-4 years to recover, but it will. You'll need to make sure you prune to give it structure this time though. It's going to try to put out a zillion shoots when you cut it back, and you need to trim them early to have it put the energy into where you want. You'll also need to trim mid season to open up air flow.

                      Oh, and the other lesson I learnt was disinfecting everything. I have some bits on mine I need to trim back again where it didn't heal over properly. And sticky tape to stop the bugs getting up the tree so much.

                      Don't worry too much if the fruits aren't in great condition with the tree in its current state. If you can open up air flow, take back any diseased wood, and get rid of any bugs like aphids which want to eat the tree, they will likely get better. Do you know what kind of apple it is?
                       
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