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Is this old apple tree beyond saving (I hope not)?


We moved to a new house this year and there is an apple tree behind the house that seems in quite a bad way.  We were told it fell/collapsed a couple of years ago; hence the funny angle!  There are so many branches on the tree.  All of the lower ones are covered in moss and lichen, and a lot of them are weak and brittle and snap easily.  There is what looks like some younger growth in the higher sections.  In terms of apples, we had perhaps 10 or so this year.  By all accounts it has been very productive in the past. 

So, any tips on how to rescue the poor thing? 

Many thanks



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,881
    edited October 2019
    It’s a venerable and beautiful tree ... I love the mosses and lichens ... it’s obviously a great wildlife habitat 😊 however I think it’s seen the last of its most productive years. 

    If it was mine I’d leave it to see out its days being home to birds bugs and beetles, thus providing a great food resource for tits, wrens, robins etc .... I might train a clematis over it ... not a Montana, that’d be too big ... but one of the viticella types would be great - giving flowers in the summer and early autumn

    and plant a new apple tree or two 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • OK, that's really useful and great advice, thanks.  

    To be honest, we've got plenty of space to put in new fruit trees.  And - like you - we think it looks lovely.  Wildlife is of major importance in the garden.  If it won't be fruitful in future years then so be it, it can stay :)  Just wan't sure if a magic prune or ??? would revitalise it.  

    Thanks for your help
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,881
    edited October 2019
    I have a C. viticella 'Queen Mother' that's still blooming away happily at the end of October ... I've got a pic somewhere ...

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,011
    The RHS website offers advice on renovationg old, neglected apple and pear trees but also says it's only worth doing on trees with a sound main trunk and healthy branches.   Given yours has topppled at some point you'll need to check carefully for health?  maybe wait for spring and see how well it blossoms and then start renovating next winter as I'm sure you have plenty of other jobs in a new garden. for the advice.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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