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Apple tree cut down to main branches

I have an apple tree which was really overgrown, so I asked the gardner to cut it right back. Its now just the trunk and a couple the main branches cut down so you can see the wood grain. Will the branches grow again and produce apples and how long will it take? Should the gardner not have cut it back so much? Thanks


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,865

    I can only speak from the experience I had last year when I had some landscaping done. My Katy apple on dwarfing rootstock was a bit of a tangled mess about 12ft tall and at least 12ft wide. I'd never pruned it in 15+ yrs and it always produced masses of good apples. I asked them to use a chainsaw and bring everything down to about 6ft and reduce the width to about 6ft. That was september 2016.
    This year I've had a huge harvest and there are now masses of water-shoots up to about 5-6ft which I will prune back over winter and open-up the middle of the tree a bit.
    So in my case the very severe pruning had no effect on this year's harvest.
    They also had to level the ground which resulted in the trunk being buried by 18" topsoil - don't know what effect that may have in the future.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • The severity of the pruning can have an effect on the tree, particularly if as you say its been take back to the main trunk / branches. It will spend the next year putting on new growth and this will need to ripen before it starts to produce flowers/fruit again.

    I have inherited several old apple trees that turned in to sprawling messes so I have to do severe pruning to get them under control again but I did leave a range of branch types so I could have some fruit rather than none, which you might experience next year.  I have just finished a second year of hard pruning so next year I should be able to just do its normal pruning and should have a better yield of fruit. 

    Some varieties cope a lot better with severe pruning, others take a year or two to recover.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    I would certainly remove the soil heaped up the trunk.  

  • make sure you trim the water shoots (the really long shoots it will produce next year) in mid August, take them back to four leaves.

    This will hopefully give you more fruit the following year, its unlikely that if its been heavily pruned chances are it wont fruit at all next year.

    and prune every year afterwards in August and February to maintain size and shape.

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