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Minarette apple trees

When I recently moved to my current address, I inherited two neglected minarette apple trees. They obviously had not been pruned for some years.

Can I hard prune them to restore the correct shape and when? They currently resemble bushes on long stems. Both are currently fruiting. One is a James Grieve, the other unknown.


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,526
    They look perfectly fine to me.

    Leave them alone and enjoy the fruit.

    They were once vertical cordons, also known as Minarette (a trade name).

    They have been left unpruned and have reverted to being normal bush apple trees. Nothing wrong with them unless you are short of space.

    See here.

    If you really want vertical cordons, then follow instructions for pruning cordon apples and you will have the original shape back.

    But the trouble with changing the shape of a fruit tree dramatically is that it often comes back to bite you. The more you chop, the faster it tries to regrow what it has lost.

    Best to enjoy what you have, in my opinion.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,636
    There are a couple of problems with just letting them grow - proximity to the greenhouse and with each other. That leaves the option of restoring their Minarette form which will require some brutal pruning and a thorough maintenance regime thereafter. I would start with a bit of summer pruning to help control growth.
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    edited August 2019
    the growth from this year reduce to two or three leaves now, any branches that don't have any fruit can also be reduced back to two leaves, then any branches with fruit on can be reduced in winter (around Feb time)
    be aware that pruning in winter promotes growth the following spring, so you'll have to still do drastic thinning of branches next summer, also you may well loose all your fruit next year if you do a renovation prune
  • Thanks to pansyface, steephill and treehugger80. My problem is space and proximity to the greenhouse. Presumably the previous owners planted them with good intentions and old age prevented them from pruning correctly. I think I am in for at least a 2 year programme to revert to 'space saver' mode!
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,526
    I would say more like four or five, but time and watershoots will tell.😊
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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