apple trees

MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736
Two old apple trees which are out of control and had years of incorrect pruning (by our selves and also cowboys we paid). I understand it isn't a good idea to prune in one go but to prune little by little over a few years.So I've possibly answered my own question. Is there a chance however, to reduce the height in an easier and quicker way : eg coppice or pollard? ( I used to know the difference but can't remember just now) If it sends up water shoots can these be kept in check and removed easily? I'd just like go get them back into a manageable size and shape as quickly as possible, not too worried about loosing fruit or 'doing the right thing' just dont want to make a mess of them long term. Thanks.


  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736

    Thanks Alan, somewhere else (I forget where) mentions pollarding hard wood but not soft wood of fruit trees. If I can get OH to agree I think we might give it a go anyway, maybe a little less drastically, then try to keep them in check in the coming years. (chain saw hire imminent for other garden jobs).

    The other idea I had was to leave two or three of the branches long and try to tie the two trees together and maintain it as an arch in the same way you would train it in a fan or in an espalier fashion. This if it works would give a framework to prune to each year. Please comment everyone as I may be going slightly senile (nothing wrong with that) with all these ideas but really want to try something different and more manageable, as well as being able to reach the apples! Thank you.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751


    pollarding is high up coppicing is low down but essentially the same thing. I don't recommend you do either though unless you're will to risk losing the tree. You need to reduce the tree over three or so years. Don't worry what things are called just try to get your head around the principle. Don't shock the tree. And think about what it is you're trying to achieve and it will be more clear. If you're tree is a Bramley though or something similar you could do anything to it and it would no doubt grow back. So it depends on the vigour of the tree how much you cut. Prune in Winter not summer if you're reducing the size of the tree. Don't confuse yourself with summer and winter pruning. Just focus on the shape you'd like the tree to be.

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736

    Thanks Jim.

    here are some pictures of what I'd like to achieve, let me know if you think it will work.

    1. the two trees either side of the path (no idea of varieties)

    2.& 3. branches I have tied together to try to train the trees to make an arch.

    Will I be ok to reduce/remove the branches to the opposite sides of the path and keep those which could eventually make an arch?




    Thanks. Hope the pics work, not uploaded from camera/pc before only used ipad.




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