How to care for old apple tree

I have just moved house to a garden with a large old apple tree. image I have already harvested some windfalls which were very popular in crumble (Nigel slaters recipe from Internet) but there are only a few left on the tree (about thirty) and it seems rather early for them to be all gone! The house had been empty for several months before we moved in, and with a hot dry summer maybe the tree has suffered and will be fine next year? Anyway, never had an apple tree before, any tips on getting a good crop next year? 

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  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Would you say that the apples were cookers only or do you think they could also be eaters when ripe?

    Are (were) the fruits at the ends of the branches, along the branches on short spurs, or both?

    Just trying to get an idea of the variety ot at least the type of apple.

    Can you give us a photo to get an idea of the size and general condition of the tree?image

  • Thank you for your reply, I'll do a photo tomorrow when it's light. I'd say cooking apple, but not huge like you buy in the shops. Fruits are along the branches and at the ends. Fruits are 'Granny Smith'  green when unripe and only a little yellower when ripe. 

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    OK, look forward to the photos.image

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  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Hello Jane

    Your tree doesn't look too bad at all. Not terribly old. From what you have said about its colour and the timing of the fruits' ripening, I 'll make a guess and say that it is a Grenadier apple. An old variety, an early one to ripen and a good one for cooking.

    If you want to have a stab at pruning it, you will need to do that in the winter, between November and March, on a mild day so that you don't get frostbite.

    until then, pick the apples and enjoy them.  Come back in November for further instructions!

  • That's great so it's just an early one, nothing wrong with it, I'll look forward to next years crop then! 

    I'm finding I have a bit of a problem with earwigs, are they eating the fruit, or just living in the holes made by other creatures? 

  • Thanks so much for your help. 

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Earwigs are great opportunists and will take advantage of anything that they think is edible. They will have found a crack or a hole in the fruit and gone in there to take a look. You can catch them by putting flowerpots stuffed with dry grass upside down on top of a bamboo cane. What you do with them once you have caught them is up to you!

  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 539

    This might be a bit obvious because I know hardly any apple varieties but its not our well loved Bramley, is it? 'Cos Bramleys are also tip bearers (I at have least learnt that this year!)

    I'm gathering Bramley's as they fall off the tree, lots with earwigs, and to prevent the little b***ers moving from damaged apples to the sound ones that have also come off the tree I leave them all in a full bowl of cold water. The pests come out of the apples to breathe then drop into the water.

    If only all garden pests were so obliging eh, Waterbutts?

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