Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Old bramley orhard  (Read 4312 times)

graham-j

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Canterbury Kent
Old bramley orhard
« on: August 08, 2012, 09:12:42 pm »
Hi,I have an old bramley orchard there are 36 trees,they are all getting on a bit covered on cancer and die back through being brutally pruned in the past,and years of neglect.
There was quite a few apples last year but they were covered in black spot,this year there are no apples at all mainly down to the weather at blossom time I believe.
I done apple tree pruning at school but that was thirty years ago now.I do remember leaders and laterals cut back leaders to half to a third to a outward facing bud cut out crossing wood and cut laterals to 3 buds,prune spurs to suit.Is that all correct.What is the best thing to do for this orchard any advice would be appreciated.
I have included some pictures of the trees..
Thanks Graham.











Graham.

deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 09:46:46 pm »
i cant advise, but there does seem to be some disease in there that would need to come out. it looks like most of it is new wood, like someone chopped it hard back a couple of years ago, so its a bit like starting fresh. good luck, looks like ace fun! :tree:

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2012, 07:33:24 am »
Chairmanphil posted something very similar earlier in the year here:

www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/index.php?topic=23180

Might be worth reading through that and dropping him a message to see how he's got on?

graham-j

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Canterbury Kent
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 01:14:10 pm »
Hi,thanks for the replys,I have seen the other post that is what inspired me to start this post in the first place.I was hoping to get some advice from Fleecewife,its hard to know where to start with old trees like this.

Graham.
Graham.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 01:53:15 pm »
Heavens, I'm not as good at this as you think I am  :tree:   What a beautiful orchard and setting though, with the sheep and poultry and sunshine  :sunshine: :thumbsup:
 
I have read what I wrote to chairmanphil and I think the same applies to your trees, once the leaves are off in the winter.  In the meantime though there is something you can do, which is to cut back all that tall growth, which is best seen in the fourth and fifth pics.  I would be tempted to take it all back by half now - what do you think Dan and your book?  Because it's not just a single years vegetative growth it's not totally straightforward.  However, once the leaves are off you could post more pics of each tree to see how best to deal with them to give you fruit and not loads of branches.  Bramleys tend to crop heaviest in alternate years so lets see if we can get next year to be a bumper crop.
 
I can't help much about the canker, except that in the winter the branch stumps which have been cut off about a foot out from the trunk need to be cut closer in.  They are the sort of place where canker can get a foothold.  Unfortunately the rot may have gone beyond those stumps, but we'll see in the winter.
Another point about infections in trees is to be very careful about hygiene.  I take a tin of white spirit or meths and an old toothbrush with me when I prune, and after I have cut any suspect wood I scrub the saw, pruners or whatever I have used.  Sometimes this means doing it after every cut.  I didn't do this when the trees were first planted (because they appeared healthy) and it's probably why canker spread through my little orchard, but it seems to be helping now.  Sawdust from pruning is probably responsible for spreading the infectious material too.
 
I think I went to the wrong school - I wish I had been taught pruning at that age.  Even my Dad didn't show me then - I had to wait until I was middle-aged and he was fed up with doing my pruning for me  :D
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 01:56:45 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

graham-j

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Canterbury Kent
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2012, 08:05:31 am »
Hi, thanks for the reply Fleece wife,its a job to know what to do for the best with these old trees.I will prune out/reduce this upward growth as you sagest there certainly is plenty of it.

Graham.
Graham.

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2012, 11:33:03 am »
Hi, What a fabulous orchard :tree: :tree: - 36 mature Bramleys, lucky you! 

I am not a expert but I hope this helps.  Well done for remembering all the stuff about laterals, sub-laterals etc but it all becomes a bit daunting when some bright spark  :dunce: has butchered the trees before you.
The idea is to encourage light and air into the centre of the trees to prevent disease, and not to cut out too much in one year as that will only encourage rapid new upright growth (water shoots that grow vertical)- which is what i think has happened to these trees.  Your lovely old trees just need some TLC.

I would look at each tree and try to keep the main branches.  Then cut out any that are obviously dead or dying, crossing or rubbing together.  Then I'd cut back any that are growing back into the centre and some of the upright branches that look to be fairly new - opening up the middle of the tree.  If you do too much in one go they will just throw up more water shoots so go gently on them.

Bramleys are notorious for biennial fruit bearing so don't worry if you feel they have not produced much fruit this year.  Also they have to recover from hard pruning.  What a picture they will be in Spring especially with the  :sheep: :sheep: underneath :D

graham-j

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Canterbury Kent
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2012, 08:46:38 am »
Hi Bramblecot,thanks for the reply yes it is a loverly place,its some where that I really like to spend time nothing seems like a chore when I'm there.I'm ofter there working into the dark,very relaxing environment away from work.
I think the main message I'm getting with these tree's is not to do to much.Basically I with start with the dead wood,then the crossing and rubbing,and try to thin out the center of the tree.
I'm still not sure if it would be better to reduce the height of the water shoot or just gradually thin them bearing in mind most seem to be about 4 years old.

Graham.
Graham.

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 12:09:25 am »
They're beautiful! Get some geese in there and an Old Spot too & you've got a picture from any time in the last few centuries!

I've got a few old Bramleys in a similar state so I've been googling a bit and came up with a series of posts on Youtube by Stephenhayesuk (Fruitwise) about how to prune old Bramleys which I found really helpful. One thing he said about the water shoots (I think they were called - all those little sprouting bits) which I have as well is that it's a good sign because there is lots of life in the tree but it's responding to having been overpruned before. You need to take some of them back, but not all. Don't just crop the ends of each but select one from each group and then take the rest right back. So, like the other have said, you end up with more space in the centre (you should be able to throw your hat through the tree, apparently) - light and air needed. Those you leave will develop into proper branches in time. Watch the posts - I think it's a series of five or six videos specifically aimed at old, neglected Bramleys (which are different to other apples).

I'm still not confident to tackle my ancient trees - I'd hate to be the one to kill them a hundred years on - so I'm going on a winter pruning course in November and I'll go armed with photos of my trees to get some specific advice as well as being able to practise on their trees first.

Oh, and mine aren't fruiting this year either, having (apparently) had a bumper year last year. We're getting lots of new fruit trees in and the guy in the nursery also said biannual fruiting is normal for old Bramleys.

Hester

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Old bramley orhard
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 10:34:53 pm »
My baby Bramley treee was the first thing I planted by the kitchen door when we moved here 5 years ago.  First year with 'proper' sized fruit  :D .  Lovely trees :tree: :tree: :tree: , take care of the oldies  :thumbsup:

 

very old Bramley

Started by chairmanphil (9.56)

Replies: 18
Views: 8295
Last post June 07, 2012, 08:27:40 pm
by chairmanphil
bramley pollinators

Started by deepinthewoods (9.45)

Replies: 7
Views: 2851
Last post September 10, 2012, 09:34:57 pm
by Beewyched

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2022. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS