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Author Topic: Apple tree help please!  (Read 8356 times)

Mel

  • Guest
Apple tree help please!
« on: November 17, 2013, 11:59:00 pm »
 :wave: all,

I have my baby orchard and this year I found out that the trees I bought two years ago were not quite as expected- or on the label. I have two cookers, one bramley 20 and one large yellow name unknown, the problem is that the apples were so huge, it snapped all the branches off.

Is there a way of getting them to thicken up- i.e. what if I be brutal with them this winter and cut them right back?? 

The eating apple- had tiny red fruits so bunched up together, it shed most of them, most were irregular shapes and whilst they were rock hard, they did taste ok. That one has some strange green mossy /lichen type growth on it, I have no idea what that is.

Any fruit tree growers, any advice please!
Voss Electric Fence

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2013, 12:20:24 am »
Have you pruned them at all since you got them? How old were they when you got them?

With formative pruning, you establish the shape/form of the tree and that's crucial to its future. It might have helped with the snapping because you do remove quite a bit of the new growth each year to take it back to a bud, which ensures it branches and doesn't just go upwards. For the shape I prune to, you take out the central leader and ensure a nice wheel of branches going outwards. This should mean you have shorter, thicker branches in the centre rather than long, skinny ones. You don't need to be brutal - the only time when that's appropriate is when you've got a very old or weak tree than needs regenerating - but you do need to prune it properly. Without knowing how you've pruned it so far, it's hard to give specific advice but for a three year old tree you'll be looking to take one third to two thirds off new growth, cutting back to an outward facing bud - as well as removing some of the growth that is going vertically upwards, anything that is crossing or pointing in to the middle and any dead or damaged branches. Your aim is to get air and sun to all parts of the tree, whilst leaving some fruit buds on too. Bramleys can tend to be tip bearers which means cutting back all new growth might limit fruit for next year but I think that generally applies to older Bramleys (and I've got some which are probably a hundred years old or near enough and they're not exclusively tip bearers).

You can also remove some fruit if you think there's a danger of the branches breaking. If it has set a lot of fruit, it can be sensible to remove some fruit from each group because that allows the remainder to ripen properly.

I'd be surprised if baby trees have lichen on although it's not a concern & is generally a sign of pure air. You've more likely got moss which may be another sign it's not well pruned. You need to keep the centre of your tree open to allow the air to circulate (another reason to remove the central leader and any branches that grow in towards the middle). This in turn means moss won't be as happy there because it likes a damp environment.

Finally, if you haven't got what you expected, can you go back to whoever sold you the trees? Certainly if it's a decent nursery, you should get some compensation if you've ended up with a  completely different variety to the one you were intending to plant.

H

Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 08:27:12 pm »
Thank you for that, I did purchase the trees locally, that one apple was always a dead straight twig with no side branches, it still has only tiny branchettes!- That is the one with the moss? and has only ever been 6ft in height, I think they are all very weak and lack of shape as you described, except that of one of my Plum trees which is doing really well- and I purchased that elsewhere.

I did prune them last year but did leave the central stalk in, they look pretty awful to me, I am wondering if not to start again with fresh trees, my problem is locating good quality trees, the local nursery charges £12-£20 for them but none have ever done any good.

The plum was on a boot stall at a local garage for £10 and was 8ft in height in the pot!

I also wondered if I have planted them incorrectly, I have three apples, a pear, plum, damson, greengage and two which may be a pear and another apple?- but have never fruited, all the blossoms just drop off. :-\


doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
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Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 08:42:24 pm »
I must admit my £5 Morrisons apple, pear and plum trees have done me proud.  Haven't a clue as to varieties of any of them as the labels fell off and disintegrated in the rain yonks ago. Only 5 years old but this year I had 17 wonderful sweet red plums; 37 green eating apples; 27 deep red apples, crisp but not very sweet, 3 pears which didn't grow enough to use, and a poor wee crab apple that got mildew.  :'( 

I need someone  to teach me pruning locally as I learn by watching not reading.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 08:48:18 pm »
My trees still have all their leaves on and no sign of them changing colour so can I still prune now or must I wait until leaves are off.

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 09:05:34 pm »
I'm waiting until the leaves fall & I'm expecting more bare root trees which I think won't arrive until the leaves have gone either.

Mel, what root stock are you trees on? That can affect the vigour enormously. Also, have you kept the ground at the base of the trees free of grass and weeds? I've seen comparison photos of trees with and without grass and it can have a big effect on the growth too.

A straight tree with no branches means it was probably a maiden whip i.e. a one year old tree so it's still not very old to be fruiting now. If it's still only got little branches coming off it now, it's not on a vigorous root stock so you're probably looking at pruning in a bush form - lowest branches coming out from the trunk at about 60cm with the central leader going up to about 1.2m (from memory, mine are bigger). So you probably want to bring the leader down a bit from 6ft.

You can buy fruit trees on line. I get all of mine from http://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/ and I think they deliver nationwide. Adams Apples do too. I don't know how the costs work out - I'm just down the road from them and I bought about 40 trees last time, 20 this so it works out OK but it might be a lot more further away. But they're great trees and even if you don't buy from there, it's worth reading all the information they have on the website.

H

Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2013, 12:00:35 am »
Hester, or do you prefer H?
Thank you very much!

I do not know the rootstock of any of my trees and I did pop down the nursery today- they have lots for sale and no identification regards this- I believe they are growing them there. Anyway, I am going to place them elsewhere and re-plant the area. I just purchased :Palmer's Rosey M25  2 Year Standard and Howgate Wonder  M25  2 Year Standard. I did not know any of this until I read on their site. 

To your question regards the bases being weed free, no they are not, the grass is up to around 2 inches from the trunks. So am going to make sure these going in correctly, my only bane are the hens, they do scratch away at the bases and ideally I would have had the metal guards but they are so horrendously expensive.

Not sure where to put the others, shall upload some photos of them, and that is going to be embarrassing! :-[

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2013, 10:05:00 am »
Blimey! They'll be huge! But given a year or two, they'll certainly cope with grass at the base and all sorts of things eating grass around them. The hens shouldn't do too much damage but I just use chicken wire around the base. You can buy a short roll and then just cut sections off - I just make a loop that goes around the base of the tree and staple it to the stake. I also use mulch mats to keep the grass and weeds down but the poultry really like to pull those apart. Rabbits are more of a threat to a baby tree I think. And geese who can reach over the chicken wire - grrrr.

Now just make sure you plant them well with lots of rotted manure or compost at their feet and probably some bonemeal as well - lots of food to get them established. Then bang the stake in first on the windward side of the tree and arrange the tree roots around it (i.e. stake goes in first, then tree so you don't damage the tree roots putting it in) - backfilling with soil/compost mix.

I don't know Palmer's Rosy but I tasted Howgate Wonder recently at Brogdale and it was great. If I didn't already have an array of huge Bramleys, I'd be investing.

H (or Hester, just H is quicker!)

Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2013, 10:24:01 am »
Thank you again, I have taken some photos of the actual apples- trees shall be added later.

I believed I had two cookers as the yellow ones were really sharp, they have been off the tree 3 weeks and are really sweet, so may be golden delicious, the others, the cooker could be a Bramley? and the red eaters possibly pippin??!!


Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2013, 10:25:37 am »
Those Yellow ones and cookers are cricket ball size and larger and snapped off the branches, there must have been 20 apples on each branch :o

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2013, 10:56:30 am »
I don't know what the yellow ones are but if they are very tart they might be a cider apple


they look a bit like "Fair Maid of Taunton"
We do the best we can with the information we have

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waddy

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2013, 11:19:17 am »
Hi Mel


I do not know the rootstock of any of my trees and I did pop down the nursery today- they have lots for sale and no identification regards this- I believe they are growing them there. Anyway, I am going to place them elsewhere and re-plant the area. I just purchased :Palmer's Rosey M25  2 Year Standard and Howgate Wonder  M25  2 Year Standard. I did not know any of this until I read on their site.



If you replant the area with more apples make sure you use fresh soil and get some mychorrizal fungi to sprinkle on the roots as you put them in. Apples are related to roses and can get the same replant disease problems.


Helen

Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2013, 02:59:11 pm »
The yellow ones I am sure are Golden delicious, I tried to eat one 6 weeks or so ago and believed it was a cooker as was so tart, now they have all been picked and stored, they have now gone very sweet, so perhaps I harvested too soon? I had to really due to the weight snapping the branches.

I am going to add some photos of the trees shortly, if under advice of anyone here to start again, or I may be able to save these and add more, I only have 9 trees but really wanted 15, I would like for a cobnut, walnut, and chestnut as well.

If I replace them I shall certainly use your tips, and use the mychorrizal fungi and manure.

Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 03:30:25 pm »
For H!

Here are the photos of the trees, please excuse my ignorance regards pruning and such, the assistant at the nursery advised whilst buying them that they shall be ok to be left but obviously not so.

I would appreciate your complete honesty and input, can they be saved or should I start again.
Thank you so much
Mel

Mel

  • Guest
Re: Apple tree help please!
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2013, 03:31:42 pm »
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