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Fruit Tree Issues

Hi there,

I am new to this whole gardening thing! I planted two apple trees in our garden about 4 years ago, at which time the trees were 2 years old. They are St Edmund's Pippin and Newton's Wonder both on M26 rootstock. The St Edmunds Pippin seems to have grown a bit but with long spindly branches whereas the Newtons Wonder has grown in every direction and looks like it has been there for decades!

I had a thought that I could obtain cuttings from another apple tree(s) from groups either side of the trees I already have and graft them on (as per Googled 'how to') thus producing a 'family' tree. I have no idea if this would be a disaster for the trees as they are or if indeed it would be a sight to behold. Does anyone have any pros/cons they would like to share as I have no idea about the science behind the whole thing. 

Thanks in anticipation,


PS - any cuttings (small) going spare would be more than appreciated if the pros outweigh the cons! 


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,339

    it could turm into a bit of a project.

    I've never grafted fruit, but I wish I had had a go at the old apple tree in the ancient orchard next door. the tree was hollow, but produced wonderful fruit, but no one could identify it.Before I could take bud wood off it, a storm bought the whole tree down.


    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Well, top marks for trying, aes!

    Having said that you are a novice gardener you are just about to try a technique that most gardeners leave to the professionals.

    All apple tree varieties have their own particular shape and degree of vigour so that might account for the difference in the two trees' shapes now. However, and it is a big however, they belong to two different pollination groups. This means that the St Edmund is one of the earliest to flower and Newton's Wonder among the latest. Hence, they are never going to pollinate each other.

    So, if you were to graft yet more varieties onto one or both of them the grafted varieties would need to correspond in pollination group with the plant onto which they were grafted. All getting a bit complicated.

    Are you short of space? If not, I would advise against grafting. It is a skilled job and you could well create more problems for yourself. I would advise you to go to a good garden centre and buy two more trees, one in pollination group 2 for St Edmund and one in pollination group 5 for Newton.

  • aesaes Posts: 8

    Thanks for the replies thus far. I am a bit short of space however, can anyone sugest a good place to get some 'old' apple varieties - ones unlikely to be seen in the shops. Just incase I shelve the grafting fantasy!

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    I know nothing about the company, but I like their website: have a wide selection.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,339

    deacons nursery has many varieties of trees. 

    M26 is a dwarfing rootstock. GFor your plan  I think you would need a more vigorous rootstock.


    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    If you are short of space, why not try growing a different species in an espalier form? There are so many examples of trained apple trees in your country, it shouldn't be hard to find one that suites your garden. You could even buy one ready made.

  • aesaes Posts: 8

    I did toy with the idea of an espalier however,I quite enjoyed the idea of more than one variety on one tree. I may just do that - buy an espalier...however the cost is a bit prohibitive. Decisions! Thanks to all for your advice thus far.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    aes, grafting is really not that hard. Yes, there are certain things you HAVE to get right but as long as you got that covered it is very, very easy. I get well over 90% takes on my grafts and I'm sure you can be successful  If you live in an urban environment there is no need to worry about pollination as long as there are bees about. If there are no bees or pollinators then you will need pollen from somewhere. Someone mentioned they are not a bad source of information but they are expensive so I don't recommend you buy from them. I don't know if you can write off list but if you can then do so and I'll point you in the right direction for a huge selection of apple grafting material. Aslo I think an espalier could be a great idea however grow one yourself I can help out with rootstocks and advice if you're willing to risk getting seriously into apples. image 

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    You haven't mentioned where the two different apples are, if they're both in the same position, if both are planted the same way, if both have grass or no grass around the base. All kinds of things can affect how a tree grows. All things being equal though the variety of the tree makes a big difference. I don't grow either of those so I can't advise on that. 

  • Hi, On the subject of old apple varieties take a look at They specialise in obscure welsh varieties and there prices are really good. 

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