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Dad chopped the top off an apple tree - is there hope?

Exactly as the title says, my father intervened with some harsh and misguided pruning. It's not his fault. He's from a long line of pasture farmers, not arable, and he's very good at hedges and lawns, but not much else.

About ten years ago, I bought a pair of apple saplings from Aldi for something like £10 each, and planted them in the centre of a south facing lawn. They have blossomed and fruited perhaps twice in that decade, and haven't really gained much height, but that's probably due to me just letting them get on with it, not feeding them or whatever. Don't judge me either, I'm inexperienced.

But recently I realised that the hack job my dad did on one of them last year would have lasting consequences for it's ultimate height. He literally lopped the top off one of them.

I think it was a fit of inspiration, he had just seen Monty Don talking about fruit trees grown against a wall or grown into an arch and was feeling ambitious. There may have been gin and tonic involved.

All I want to know is, is there any hope at all for  this 4ft apple tree, or will it be permanently stunted? I had hopes that it would someday be an actual tree, like, taller than a person. What can I do to encourage upward growth, and more generally, what feed would help? Or should I dig it out, pot it up, call it a bonsai and buy a new partner for the other apple?


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,554
    I think we are going to need a couple of clear photos of the shape of the tree now.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,511
    If they have not grown much in 10 years they are probably on dwarfing rootstock and will never get very big.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,306
    I don't know why you'd bother to spend any more time on them...buying trees is not something you can do at a supermarket. If they're been underperforming this badly and you're serious you want a beautiful fruit tree in that location maybe this damage is your cue to act and buy something lovely from a specialist nursery. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    My neighbours very productive fruit trees came from a certain well known budget supermarket!!
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,306
    One exception doesn't make the rule @Nanny Beach if people have fifty trees then it makes sense to try a cheap specimen on the off chance it does well. In a domestic scenario where you have space for one tree... don't think it makes any sense to save £15 and instead plant something useless. It's an investment when it's a specimen plant and frankly getting the first random tree Aldi has on offer is rarely justified long term. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • pansyface said:
    I think we are going to need a couple of clear photos of the shape of the tree now.
    I'm out right now, but I'll update with pics later x
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,724
    My neighbours too have great apple trees bought from Morrisons ten years ago, coverered in fruit. I would knock it.
  • PlashingPlashing Posts: 317
    I brought a Bramley apple tree several years ago from Morrisons which turned out to be a different variety altogether to what it said on the label, the trouble is you don't find oujt till it fruits and you have no come back even though I complained.
  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 2,607
    I can't offer any advice but I like the sound of your dad @lsmoss1993UgTl12i9 :)

    G&T ought to be involved in all gardening decisions :D 
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    He actually bought the fruit trees in Lidl,he's hasn't got just one tree we're talking a veritable orchard. There's far more than a £15 price difference,fruit trees even in our local nursery you are talking £30 each,a couple of quid in a super market. A few years ago we bought 2 Stella cherries,NOT Lidl or Aldi  but online, quite expensive and both appear to have died.
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