What shall I do with these trees?!

I need some opinions! These are two old apple trees in our back garden. I am facing south when taking this photo so I guess the ground under the trees face north. Behind them is our garage which is currently covered in climbers and weeds etc. Under the trees is concrete with some gaps for plants. On Thursday we have someone coming to help clear all the rocks and plants off the garage so we can work on it (new roof, windows, wooden cladding etc.) My husband wants to get rid of the trees. It makes the path underneath very slippery (in fact I broke my arm badly last year slipping on a manky apple!). But the birds absolutely love the trees and we love the birds    We’ve got lots of trees around us but these are the closest. I’ve suggested cutting the trees right back so the birds still can use them for food/cover but I don’t mind if we never get any apples. Then pulling the concrete up to make a shady bed-bulbs, ferns etc. OR we could cut down one tree and put a bench there so we have somewhere shady to sit in summer.

It’s going to sound really stupid but I have so little time to do any gardening and love what I do manage to do so I hate having to spend ages picking up rotten apples and fallen leaves for weeks and weeks! Wish we could have the trees for the birds without the mess ????imageimage

What’s people’s thoughts please?

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  • KT53KT53 Posts: 3,596

    Our neighbour had a similar problem and ended up cutting the trees back to little more than the trunk and the main branches each about 3 feet long.  To compensate the birds she hangs numerous feeders from the remains.  It would have been too difficult to remove the trunk and roots.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 56,603
    Liz Warner says:

    sorry. Can’t get it to load ?

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  • sounds like the apples could do with the branches thinning (to reduce the shade underneath them) and the fruit thinning in July (to reduce the number of wind fallers)

    i would never chop down a perfectly good tree without a really good reason

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,237

    What a shame, how I wish to inherit a mature tree with any fruit....nonetheless, sounds like you will need some management of the tree if you keep them. Do as Treehugger80 suggests, and see if that helps a bit. Another drastic change is to remove concrete and maybe try something like gravel. You can have the odd fruit drop but not have the risk of accidents. Also, you can plant in small pockets here and there. But removing the concrete will be a big job.

  • imageFantastic! It’s working again!! 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,237

    The trees look like they've been pruned quite hard before, so you can prune them again. Why not lay gravel or something similar over that pathway. Once you have controlled the size of the trees, I don't think your patio area will be that badly affected.

    Looks like an old rock garden/raised area. Is this soil dry and free draining? Looks like you have Bergenias growing there, so a good plant that is adaptable in many locations, but no indication of whether your soil is wet most of the summer or dry. Helps to know what could be planted in and around the area.

    Last edited: 21 February 2018 05:21:08

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