Is my Bramley Apple Tree dead?

Hello all, please can you help?

I have an ancient Bramley Apple tree which I think is dying.  Last year it produced tiny apples.  The apples have reduced in size as the years are going on.  Last year I also noticed that several of the branches have the bark peeling off them and the branches look as if they are dying if not dead.  This year I note that not one of the branches seems to have produced any buds or leaves. I haven't pruned the tree and I am wondering if I have neglected it.  The tree has been with us for twenty years, but with our previous homeowner for several previous years.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. image  



  • My apple tree is not in leaf either yet-think it has been too cold

  • LorrainePLorraineP Posts: 212

    Neither is my 'ancient' apple tree in leaf yet - but I can see fresh buds beginning to appear.  It sounds to be in similar condition to yours Heafybeafy - bark peeling off, poor fruit.  I trimmed it in January hoping it may help.  Alas, if it doesn't buck up it will probably get the heave-ho soon.  So interested to hear what response you get about your tree.

  • Many thanks for your replies, I think you may be right about the cold weather and our trees not being in leaf yet.  Am really hoping to bring my tree back to life somehow, it has been such a lovely feature in our garden and for so many years.  Will be mega sad if it's on it's last legs.

  • Please keep your suggestions coming in.image

  • My 60 year old apple trees are only just showing signs of bud. If you have not pruned for a number of years it would be worthwhile doing so next winter to open the tree up and let in more air and light. It's a bit late for serious renovation pruning.

    My trees are 18 feet high with 20 feet diameter spread. No dwarfing root stock in those days. The trees do have some canker and are losing the bark in places but still produce apples so I keep looking after them.

    Also do you feed the tree? I feed mine every year. Last year I had a very poor crop of apples which I think was due to the weather. Most years I am giving them away.

  • Hello Littlemoney, I spotted some buds on the tree today,so very happy.  I planted some bulbs around the tree a few years ago and I wonder if they are sapping valuable nutrients from the soil which would normally be for the tree.  I haven't been feeding the tree, but will definitely start to do this, as well as an annual prune.  Thank you so much for your advice.

  • Hello Heafybeafy,  Good news then, I don't know where your tree is in the country. I'm in Nth Glos, the buds have just broken.  This time last year the blosson was over, so it's very late coming out at all.  Don't unduly worry about your lack of fruit last year - mine and a fruit farm near me had very poor crops last year too.  Warm start when no pollinating insects were about then cold weather to ruin the blossom and too cold and wet for bees etc to fly. My tree also has quite a lot under it ,including a large clump of rhubarb - all inherited by the previous owner.  Its got canker, but as an old Bramley (estimated 50yrs) it copes with it.  With you having planted underneath it, some of the soil may well have been compacted.  If you could aerate this gently to prevent too much root damage, feed it or mulch with something nutritous. then prune as littlemoney has suggested, it may yet come good.  I was in Heligan in mid march and they had had unprecented frosts, so not even the south UK has escaped the cold this winter. Hope this helps

  • Thank you daffygardener for your advice.  I am in the South of England - Dorset.  I shall definately aerate the soil around the tree (was planning on doing the rest of my lawn anyway- just psyching myself up for the delightful job of doing it!)  I shall also treat my tree to a good mulch and feed.  I shall be keeping my fingers crossed.  Many thanks once again image

  • Good morning, I would recommend calling a tree surgeon/consultant out to have a look i used to work as one myself without seeing the tree all i can give you is a few pointers. Prunus' are becoming later and later however with a very cold wet and dark winter/early spring behind us things will start to catchup. if you have any doubt about the condition of your trees they are a few very easy signs to look for. firstly any roots which may be exposed, damaged, compacted or disturbed by recent digging. This reduces the amount of nutrients the tree can absorb thus producing smaller leaves, fruit produce and 'dieback' from the tips of branches. secondly if you go to the base of the tree, is the any deep hollowing or dark matter leaking from the tree. This would usually suggest the tree is diseased, whilst prunus are very resilliant if there is any chance of something or someone being damaged if the tree fell over i would immediatly consult a professional. Thirdly if and when the tree produces leaves look for any blight and difference in size from the prevous year. Last but not least when we come into autumn look around the base of the tree for any mushrooms and fungii, these are a very easy way to identify disease within the tree. If you would like the tree to produce more/less fruit there are ways to prune the tree to insure this happens. Based on what you have said I would recommend having the tree reduced by 30%-35% within dormancy period (november-december), the tree should make a amazing recovery after that, best of luck

  • sweetpea22sweetpea22 Posts: 1

    Hi everyone  HELP  we planted 3 trees last year in tubs  the James greves and the pear are fine but  the bramley was in bud but the last frost may have put paid to that as now the tree is wet in places and the would be buds are hard  any chance of a second lot of buds or  it  is dead

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