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Old apple trees

markie6657markie6657 Alvechurch, WorcestershirePosts: 34
hi, we inherited an old orchard with a few very old apple trees in them. We would like to keep them rather than turn them into logs however they have this all over them ( see photos attached please ) Is this treatable and also from the pictures any idea what the apples might be please, from 2 different trees, thank you
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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626
    Are we talking about a sort of sooty substance that washes off the skin?

    If so, I don’t know what it is, but I just wash it off. 🙂
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Or do you mean the lichen?
  • markie6657markie6657 Alvechurch, WorcestershirePosts: 34
    Hi Pansyface, thanks for your reply - no I'd like to know what the green all over the branches and how can I treat it? They are lovely old trees and I am loathe to take them out
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626
    Like bookmonster says, it’s lichen.

    Lichen is a sign of clean fresh unpolluted air. It does nothing to the tree other than sit on it. I have lichen growing on tables and chairs, trees, anything really.🙂
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,236
    The lichen on your trees is not a disease or a problem so can and should be left well alone.

    Old apple trees can often be neglected and need some rejuvenation pruning and treatment.  Have a look at this video from the RHS to see how to proceed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Aj6fUcaXSE


    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • yep - don't stress about the lichen. As obelixx say's the tree would benefit from a restorative prune which will help bring some light and air into the mix and improve the look of it. don't take too much off at once though - no more than 20%.
  • markie6657markie6657 Alvechurch, WorcestershirePosts: 34
    Thank you very much for the advice you have given to me,I will certainly take it on board. Can I just ask, does anyone have an idea as to what the variety of apples may be from the photographs that I have added ?although I admit they aren't the best pictures I've ever taken
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626
    edited October 2019
    Ho ho.  There are thousands and thousands of apple varieties. Cookers and eaters and cider apples. Ones with white blossom, ones with pink and some with red. Early varieties and late. 

    If I had to stick my neck out, I’d say that the last one looks like a cooker that I have called Golden Spire, but I could be a million miles off.

    As you can see from this description given by Keepers Nursery, there are all sort of factors involving taste, texture, size and habit of tree etc etc...

    History and description of Golden Spire

    Found in Lancashire in about 1850. Introduced by Richard Smith, nurseryman, of Worcester. In Gloucestershire, where it was grown as a cider apple, it is known as Tom Matthews. Quite widely grown in the late 19th century and also recommended as a decorative tree due to its weeping habit.

    A distinctly shaped, tall, oblong apple. Light green becoming golden yellow when fully ripe. Deep cream flesh with quite intense, almost cidery flavour. Sharp and juicy. Cooks to a yellow puree, slightly brisk and well flavoured.

    A tree of weak vigour with a weeping habit. Heavy cropper.


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • markie6657markie6657 Alvechurch, WorcestershirePosts: 34
    Thankyou Pansy, the description certainly matches the photograph so we'll go with that! it does make a lovely pie so we'll does as has been suggested and give it a bit of a trim,looking at them I would doubt they've had any remedial treatment for many a year 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626
    A word of caution.

    Go very very  steady on any trimming.

    Apple trees have a horrible habit of reacting to trimming by putting out long, whippy, unproductive growth called water shoots. You can read about those elsewhere.

    Be very cautious. Only cut out crossing branches, and only then if they are rubbing against other branches and you have to.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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