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David Gould
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Location: united kingdom south wales on a hillside
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Rez Zircon wrote:See this wretched looking tree? it's been neglected for decades and mauled by bears. (It appears to be own-root, not grafted. It doesn't sucker.)



All I've done is chop out the deadwood I could reach from the ground. And this year we had a lot of spring rain. Look what it did -- these are all on one branch (out of reach without a ladder, so I didn't do anything with 'em):



They're not the best apples, but goes to show what a death-warmed-over tree is still capable of.

One up the way that two years ago looked totally dead from being covered with vines -- took two years to recover but this year has about a dozen apples on it and is looking much better.





Over this side of the pond the orchard farmers try to limit the number of apples on each tree ... too many apples will never produce the optimum fruit . I've seen one or two actually knocking blossom off with long bamboo poles if a large percentage has been pollenated & started to turn brown .  Where I live  a late May frost or strong winds  solve the problem for me ......I 'm lucky to get a decent crop most years  .
 
Rez Zircon
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Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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David Gould wrote:
Over this side of the pond the orchard farmers try to limit the number of apples on each tree ... too many apples will never produce the optimum fruit . I've seen one or two actually knocking blossom off with long bamboo poles if a large percentage has been pollenated & started to turn brown .  Where I live  a late May frost or strong winds  solve the problem for me ......I 'm lucky to get a decent crop most years  .


Thought about that, but didn't realise it had set so many until they were this big (previously it's had ones and twos and I stopped paying attention) and they don't get any bigger regardless -- it's about one tree worth total, but ALL on one branch; other branches had one or none. I think I'll be keeping that branch on any future trimmings...!!
 
David Gould
Posts: 31
Location: united kingdom south wales on a hillside
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Rez Zircon wrote:
David Gould wrote:
Over this side of the pond the orchard farmers try to limit the number of apples on each tree ... too many apples will never produce the optimum fruit . I've seen one or two actually knocking blossom off with long bamboo poles if a large percentage has been pollenated & started to turn brown .  Where I live  a late May frost or strong winds  solve the problem for me ......I 'm lucky to get a decent crop most years  .


Thought about that, but didn't realise it had set so many until they were this big (previously it's had ones and twos and I stopped paying attention) and they don't get any bigger regardless -- it's about one tree worth total, but ALL on one branch; other branches had one or none. I think I'll be keeping that branch on any future trimmings...!!


If the tree is not producing on the other large branches next year  , learn how to graft fresh cut  very early spring apple scions on  about  24  - 18 inches long ,  low down in the trunk .

. That way you might still get fruit whilst the scions take hold & in a couple of years start producing apples.  Then you can heavily prune the dead / unproductive wood out , not forgetting to use some sort of wound sealer to protect the new cut wood from fungi & insect attack etc. .

If you feel like it in the very early spring get a couple of sicons off three or four decent apple trees& graft them on as well .

It's amazing to come across trees where there are cookers , sharp eaters , sweet eaters & nutty crunchy Golden Russets all on the same tree because someone did a bot of successful grafting a few years ago .

If you are interested you can also seek out trees that flower at differing times  ..it gives the pollinators an extended source of food & gives you a longer cropping season in a lot of cases .
 
Rez Zircon
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Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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David Gould wrote: If the tree is not producing on the other large branches next year  , learn how to graft fresh cut  very early spring apple scions on  about  24  - 18 inches long ,  low down in the trunk


Well, the tree is probably not worth going to any great bother over; the trunk has been split and whoever previously cut away major deadwood didn't seal that either, so the core is punky. More likely once I get the irrigation fixed (it gets a bit too dry without it) I'll just plant some fresh trees.

But it's interesting how well they hang on and come back from being next to dead. And I don't yet know if they're some heritage variety that needs preserving (they're about 65 years old).
 
David Maxwell
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>whoever previously cut away major deadwood didn't seal that either, so the core is punky.

Actually, this is false.   Painting cut ends has no beneficial effect - the tree seals the cut itself.  And the rot is not the result of any failure of anybody in the past.
 
Rez Zircon
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David Maxwell wrote:>whoever previously cut away major deadwood didn't seal that either, so the core is punky.

Actually, this is false.   Painting cut ends has no beneficial effect - the tree seals the cut itself.  And the rot is not the result of any failure of anybody in the past.


This is about 4" across and points upward from a former split in the trunk, so it catches water. Not exactly ideal.
 
David Maxwell
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You are absolutely correct that wood flat across, where water will accumulate leads to invasion by fungi, and rot of the wood.  But 1) painting it with any form of goo does not prevent this, and 2) if cutting, (as opposed to branches and trunks breaking off), the cut should be vertical, so the water does in fact run off.  (If one is removing the entire limb, it should be cut just at the edge of the branch collar, which is where the tree is going to heal over the wound, at least on the living part..  But basically, the wood of the tree is dead.  The wood gets recycled by fungi, which are omnipresent, and nothing you can do as a human intervenor makes any difference to to this process.  The rot was not caused by inappropriate actions on anybody's part in the past.  And nothing you do now is going to prevent any similar activity in future.
 
Rez Zircon
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David Maxwell wrote:You are absolutely correct that wood flat across, where water will accumulate leads to invasion by fungi, and rot of the wood.  But 1) painting it with any form of goo does not prevent this


True, fungi are everywhere, and wood is hardly sterile. But at least in the desert, a layer of paint or motor oil or gasoline or cement or just about any chemical or physical barrier is necessity for exposed wood, because otherwise termites will get into it -- immediately if it's near the ground, within a year or two if it's up where only the flyers will reach it.
 
Todd Parr
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david fischer wrote:In pruning a tree, less is always best.


I used to believe this, but I have seen too many trees in horrible condition that were brought back to good health by severe pruning to believe it anymore.  Very heavy pruning can also make really spindly specimens thick and healthy again.  Take pollarding as an example.  Pollarding is really just pruning everything off the tree except a tall stump.  Coppicing is just cutting the tree down almost at the ground.  From what I have read and been told, you can keep a tree from ever dying of old age by pollarding or coppicing it.
 
Rez Zircon
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Todd Parr wrote:
david fischer wrote:In pruning a tree, less is always best.


I used to believe this, but I have seen too many trees in horrible condition that were brought back to good health by severe pruning to believe it anymore.  Very heavy pruning can also make really spindly specimens thick and healthy again.  Take pollarding as an example.  Pollarding is really just pruning everything off the tree except a tall stump.  Coppicing is just cutting the tree down almost at the ground.  From what I have read and been told, you can keep a tree from ever dying of old age by pollarding or coppicing it.


The original function of coppicing was to make lots of withies to use in furniture and wattle. And it's fine so long as the tree gets enough water. Under desert or drought conditions, such severe pruning is a good way to kill it. Observed numerous 60 year old trees killed by topping in the SoCal desert (don't get me started).
 
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