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Apple tree problems







I have inherited an old cooking apple tree that needs some TLC  and am looking for some advice. It had a good crop of fruit, but many rotted on the tree,  as we recently moved to this house I have no history of it but it does look neglected and un-pruned .

Any suggestions please?




  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Hi Steve,i notice you have lichen growing on the tree, im told this shows good clean air so thats a good start,I would do as the Royal Hort suggests on this. also the tree might want a kick start to healthy apples look at the Royal Hort pruning neglected apple trees advise.It would perhaps be a third prune at a time type of thing. good luck 




  • Thank you Alan, I'll check it out

  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Morning Steve, I also have a similar prob and it seems we need to know what kind of tree it actually is so we can do the right kind of clean up, All new to me but i read it matters as some apples trees give fruit on there tips and some along the branches and some it seems both,now that really helps us,Right i,ll be reading and asking more,so good luck and also im giving Fish blood and bone in March/April and 2 table spoons of potash in a bucket of water,this did work on my Fig tree i inherited ,old and never fruited i trimmed and potashed it and presto loads of fruit this year so it does work, Av a good day mate ,Sunny here in Norfolk folksimage

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,625
    If it had a good crop of fruit then it can't be in too bad a state. One thing to do is to make sure that ever wizened fruit is removed from the tree and its surroundings and any leaves are swept up too. Fruit rots because of fungal spores so the more you can remove the better the health of the tree will be.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • It seem the better apple crop is at the top of the tree all on newish growth and in full sun etc. So my plan is to remove DDD and try to open out the centre to allow free circulation of air, together with removing some of the higher branches so as I can get access to the fruit easier. I'm not really expecting much in the way of fruit for a couple of years, but worth the effort I think as it's been living for donkeys years would like to try and keep it.

    I seem to remember "sticky bands" wrapped around the trunk, any one know when it's best to do this?

    Thanks for  all your help

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,053

    Hi Steve,

    I'd consider removing that low supported side branch completely as long as it doesn't make the tree look odd.  That short dead branch stump on it (immediately above the support post) is not good for the tree and will let in disease.  You ought to at least remove that and cut it flush with the branch as it will never heal if left like it is.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks Bob, I will remove the complete limb above the supporting stump. I'm apprehensive to remove the complete limb and support as I have a feeling the tree may rock around in the winter winds and blow over and all will be lost.

    Should I treat the fresh cut with anything to help the tree heal or prevent attack?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,053

    The RHS now advise against using anything on tree wounds as there is evidence that it can trap fungal spores and bacteria underneath the wound paint and actually slows the healing process.

    I'm not sure I'd do what you suggest though in removing the whole limb above the support.  Cutting a large branch like that half way will cause more problems than it solves.  I'd just remove the short stumpy bit if you aren't going to remove the whole thing to the main trunk.  I like Alan's advice and suggest looking at the RHS advice on renovative pruning of old apple trees:


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Steve ,good morning ,iv been thinking about the prob,if a tree needs to be regenerated by a third at a time pruning to be safe,, then the time and work im thinking could be spent on cut the tree and give away or burn the wood,then invest around £20 ( mine was £21:50 ) form the nursery ) for a Bramley Seedling perhaps and start again afresh,  im not sure how close a new tree can be planted to the old roots but i,ll ask a new Q ,someone will know, Im not sure which way to go yet but my neighbor has an open fire so that'simage a start anyway so ok good luck all ....bit dull erein Norfolk

  • Good idea Alan, if a new tree is £20 ish then it seems a good investment to get one and if the old one fails after trying to rejuvenate it then  my new tree will be 3 years old and fairly established. If it survives Ill have two. Good idea about burning the wood.

    Short stumpy bit it is then Bob, and nothing to purchase, whoopee.

    Thanks for your help, going to make a start at the weekend.

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