'Rubbish' apple tree

We have a pretty rubbish apple tree in our garden. It's about 18-20 feet high and we get hardly any apples from it. This year we had 12 apples. 11 of which grew on one branch .

The main trunk is about 4 feet high before it hits the branches. It's probably about 4 inches thick. 

I think I want to get rid of it and replant 2 new ones in its place .possibly arching over a gateway.

Would removal of a tree this size be hard to do?

Is it salvageable?
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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,205
    edited October 2018
    Do you dislike it because it is too big or because it is unproductive? If it produced a thousand apples every year would it become more popular? 

    There is no reason why any apple tree, assuming that it is healthy, has a nearby companion tree to help the flowers set fruit, and is pruned correctly, should not be a useful addition to the garden.

    So, if it could be made healthy, be well pruned and have  a neighbour to help it produce a crop of apples, do you still want to get rid of it?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 28,021
    If you simply don't like or want the tree, then it shouldn't be difficult to take out.
    I'm with pansyface on this though. There are many reasons why it  may not be productive, so if you can address those, it will literally 'bear fruit'.
    If the trunk is only  four inches, and it's only four feet before the start of the branches, but it's 18 - 2 feet tall, it's probably not been getting pruned, or pruned correctly, so it would be a good idea to check out whether it's a spur fruiting or a tip fruiting variety [it sounds like the former ]  and then check out how to prune.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,205
    I’m having trouble forming a mental picture of the two new trees which would bend over a gate.

    I assume that this would be a working gate and that you would want to walk through it without stooping or doing a limbo dance.

    If that is the case, then you are going to need two trees that have been grafted onto quite a large rootstock type. Large rootstock types produce trees with trunks that are tall enough to make side branches that could be bent over a useable gate.

    Thus, you would end up with not one tree that you say is too big, but two trees that you would soon say were too big.....
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • I've been in this house for only 3 years so id ont know hownold the tree is. 

    It's a rubbish apple producer .I have two girls that would love to eat apples but even the good ones aren't really that nice. We had one good yea but ended up trading the apples with a local cider producer (I was happy with that).

    I've done a lot of research the last couple of years and tried to pruen it correctly. Leaving the middle free and airy, pruning by a third etc. It's just not a great tree so I think starting again is maybe the best option.

  • pansyface said:
    I’m having trouble forming a mental picture of the two new trees which would bend over a gate.

    I assume that this would be a working gate and that you would want to walk through it without stooping or doing a limbo dance.

    If that is the case, then you are going to need two trees that have been grafted onto quite a large rootstock type. Large rootstock types produce trees with trunks that are tall enough to make side branches that could be bent over a useable gate.

    Thus, you would end up with not one tree that you say is too big, but two trees that you would soon say were too big.....

    I've seen apple and pear trees trained on an archway and I think thetheight be a better way to go. Just a thought .
  • I've seen apple and pear trees trained on an archway .just a thought on doing it that way as I'm putting a new gate in next to that tree anyway. 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 1,047
    If it is a tip bearing variety then pruning stems by a third every year will remove the fruit. Leave it unpruned next year and see what happens.
  • It's not a tip bearing. All the apples this year were along one branch.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,205
    edited October 2018
    Well, if you aren’t keen on the apples that it produces there is little more to be said. Off with its head. Not a major job to dig it out.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,274
    As pf says, it would need to be worth the extra time and effort and apple tree roots aren't too difficult to remove..  For the replacements, choose a variety you know you will like and then find a suitable pollinating partner for it as the second tree.  The Orangepippin website has excellent information available.  I picked 'Red Falstaff' as a an example as it I've found it to be a delicious and highly productive late variety:
    If you scroll down and click on 'Find pollination partners for..', the site will list lots of suitable varieties for the 2nd tree.  You don't have to buy from there of course but it is a great resource. :)
     

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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