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Apple tree support

I have a Bardsey apple on (I think) M26 rootstock. It was planted in winter 18/19 as a maiden whip and staked (probably too high). The lower trunk was looking very thin so this spring i replaced the stake with guy lines lower down to encourage it to sway more and thicken while still providing support in the stronger winds. Now the fruit are getting heavier the tree has started to bend and lean, and was looking precarious so I added a strap to the fence to bring it back upright. Will it need permanent support now? If I take the support off in the autumn after the fruit has gone will it strengthen? 


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,572
    Welcome to the forum, @tim87djh1NgmRAi :)

    Could you post a photo of your tree?  It's hard to imagine where it is relative to the fence...  The recommendation is to stake a tree on M26 for at least the first 4 years, I think - but @pansyface is the fruit tree expert so hopefully she'll see this thread.  
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,488
    I wouldn’t be allowing such a young tree to carry fruit … it needs to put its energy into growing … also the weight of fruit can damage the tree, tearing branches. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,550
    edited 25 July
    pansyface is the fruit tree expert like Liz Truss is the foreign relations expert. 😂 Thank you, liri, for your confidence in my abilities. 😊

    I’d second Dove’s answer. Too much weight. Be patient. Leave a few apples but not so many as to bend the boughs. You have another 80 years of harvests to look forward to so no need to rush. 😊

    M26 rootstock will need staking for life, yes. Choose a good stake and use and old pair of tights wound into a figure of eight shape rather than a conventional tree tie.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • tim87djh1NgmRAitim87djh1NgmRAi Posts: 3
    edited 25 July
    Meant to add a pic to the first post sorry. Here's the tree with three guy lines low down and now a strap holding it upright against the prevailing wind (can't seem to rotate it the right way up). The branches seem to be holding the weight of the apples fine but it was the main stem that was leaning over. Will it eventually strengthen up if I remove some fruit? I am happy to have a permanent support but in that case I'll build something more aesthetic. This was the first fruit tree I planted, probably did everything wrong!

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,550
    edited 25 July
    The main number one thing that you need to do is to remove all the clutter from around the trunk.

    Take away all the plants that are competing for food and water.

    Leave about a square metre of bare earth onto which you can apply food and water to the tree alone.

    Being so close to two fences will mean that the tree is in a rain shadow and will need you to keep an eye on the water situation.

    And yes, reduce the amount of fruit by 50% this year.

    The ties at the base aren’t achieving much. Put in a good strong stake and tie it to the tree where the top tie is now.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Ok thanks!
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