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Pruning a newly planted crab apple?

NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,664
I have just planted out a pot-grown Malus Evereste. It’s about 80cm tall, looks like the leader has been pruned back at some point, but the two remaining branches are whippy and long - they start pretty low on the trunk. Is it worth shortening these now, better to wait until next year or just let it do it’s own thing?

My RHS fruit book is no help, only deals with ordinary apples and the pictures of 1 yr old trees show a long maiden trunk with good, branched heads, which don’t resemble mine at all!


  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 1,794
    I planted a pot-grown Malus Red Sentinel a year ago @Nollie it was about 80-100cm tall. It also had a couple of whippy branches low on the trunk. On the instruction label it said not to prune. It has grown very well in the last year and these branches are now much thicker and still seem to me to be too low down on the trunk. I would also be glad of some advice from those in the know! Sorry to highjack your thread!
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 6,988
    edited January 2020
    I didn’t prune mine straight away but I did take off the branches which seemed to be too low when the tree had developed more of a head (couple of years probably).
    No idea if that was right or wrong - I also struggled to find information.

    Had 4 trees - 2 are a good shape - 2 are not quite right. The 2 which are not right have not been helped by fat pigeons snapping off the thin immature branches - usually the branches I wanted to develop...

    With hindsight I wish I’d removed the fruit for the first 2 seasons to deter the pigeons.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,664
    Did you buy your tree from Promesse de Fleurs, by any chance, @floralies? I did and yours sounds very similar to mine, looks as if it’s going to be more a bush than a tree. If I took off the lower branches, @Topbird there would be little left, but happy to wield the secateurs if that’s what it needs.

    Here is mine, no real trunk to speak of and the knobbly bit low down on the trunk, seen in the second photo, had an apple on, which I did snip off. It is planted at the same level as in the pot, again I am in two minds about whether to mulch over the exposed roots, or whether this would encourage more branching from the base.

    Odd there is very little info out there, hopefully someone can help advise us!

  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 1,794
    @Nollie, I bought mine from It said not to prune it. I've been looking on line for info and I think maybe after the second year it is ok to prune but really very unclear. Mine has put on very good top growth in the first year, even had some apples on those lower branches which I probably should have removed? I don't have any roots showing, maybe that is where it is grafted on to a root stock? We need a tree expert.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,449
    Hi all Malus 'Evereste' fans! When I was looking for a suitable apple-tree to contribute to the decoration of my garden, I finally narrowed down my choice to the 'Evereste' one, and it has not disappointed me. However, I found it quite difficult to find exactly what I wanted. What was readily on offer in the nearby nurseries was either the bush form (such as the one shown on @Nollie 's photos or the standard form, but I wanted a half-standard. Why? Seen from my living-room window, I wanted its branches to mask the ugly TV aerials & chimney-pots of the neighbouring house(s), without masking my garden's mixed borders. I had to drive 2 hours from home to find the suitable specimen, which, fortunately, would just fit inside my car.
    Here it is, just one year after plantation.
    And in the autumn of 2018, 4 years after plantation:

    Of course, that half-standard was (a bit) more expensive than the bush-like form, but it had already been shaped correctly, so no need to ponder about pruning it the right way.

    @Nollie I think on your second pic your tree is planted too high above the soil. Those "roots" should not be showing.

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,664
    @Papi Jo that’s really helpful, your gorgeous photos of your Evereste is what made me choose it. So it looks as if I have a bush form instead of a standard or half standard! Well, I expect I will have to live with that as crab apples are not available in nurseries here and the chances of getting a standard form are slim. With regard to planting depth, I did plant it at the same level as it was in the pot, but can replant it deeper. What do you recommend, to depth A (above where it arrived with an apple attached) or B (just to cover the exposed roots) in the photo below?

    @floralies maybe you have a bush form as well? 
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,449
    I would definitely cover the exposed roots.

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 1,794
    I must have the bush form as well @Nollie. I have to say that I have not seen a choice here. It doesn't matter as I bought it to hide a rather ugly shed but will be wiser in the future, hopefully! More homework needed!
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,664
    Thanks @Silver surfer and @Papi Jo, will do. No idea what the root stock is as the website didn’t say. Fortuitously, a shrub form will better hide the gap in the fence @floralies. We live and learn  :)
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