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Apple Tree Issue

Hi Everyone,
I have a 20+ year old Apple Tree which I inherited on taking over my late mother's house. The tree is currently around 10 ft tall.
We get some fruit usually every other year but each summer it is beseiged with Wooly Aphid and its associated "fluff" on the ends of old cutting points.
I jet this with water when watering the garden during the hot dry spells such as we are currently having and whilst this cleans things up for a day or so, back it comes.
Last year,  as in previous years in late summer,  I pruned the multiple upright whippy stems which crowd the tree so as to aid the air circulation which I understand is one step towards combatting the Aphid issue, together with Winter Washing with appropriate commercial product from my local garden centre. I did an additional Wash in late January in the hope that this would control the problem.  No such luck.
I am now facing a tree with even more growth than in the past (see photos) as well as that dreaded fluff which this time around is now clinging to this years young whippy growth.
Help Please - for example can I thin out any of these stems or do I have to hold off until much later in the year at the risk of ever more aphid occupancy over the coming months?
Look forward to hearing from you.
James.

Posts

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626
    The more enthusiastically you cut out those upright whips, the more they will grow back.

    You have to take it slowly. Cut out no more than 10% each year. Don’t shock the tree into thinking that it’s about to be chopped down and has to make up for lost leaves.

    The fluffy is tuff is probably growing because the apple tree is growing in a little jungly microclimate. All those nice flowers round about, providing a moist environment.

    I think you have to decide. Do you like the tree for the shade and structure and privacy it provides or do you want a fully functioning apple tree?

    Personally, I’d look at it as a tree in a pretty flowerbed. And be glad to get a few apples off it now and then.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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