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Old Apple Tree

I have been asked to prune a apple tree that is very old and hasn't been touched for several years.Firstly, will it be ok to 'hit it hard' in one go or would it be better to do it gradually over a couple of years? Secondly, there is one thick branch that is growing vertically through the centre of the tree that will have to come out, should the 'wound' be treated?


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,670

    I have some old apple trees that needed sorting. We did it over 2 years. Cut out that central branch and crossing branches. The aim is to get a cup shape. I didn't treat the wounds and they were fine. But they were cut slightly sloping to let water drain off, except of course where the cuts were naturally sloping.They were pruned in winter. They are now much easier to keep pruned.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • I agree with BL - tackle it over 2 or 3 years and don't take out too much in one go.  Watch for 'water shoots' which will appear after heavy pruning.  The RHS don't recommend treating tree cut wounds any more.  See their advice for renovative pruning of old apple and pear trees here:




    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • GravGrav Posts: 10

    Thank you Busy-Lizzie and Bob.

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