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Any Advice on Pruning Large Crab Apple Hedges and Fruit Recipes?

 
Darren Oneil
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Hello everyone, I'm Darren from Ireland. Me and my partner have just moved into a new home and are trying to get stuck into the garden now there are signs of spring on the horizon. We are fortunate to have a large garden that comprises of several sections but along with that, comes a lot of maintenance. We have a lovely partitioning hedge that forms an archway and it is made up of Crab Apple. Apparently, Crab Apples give off a wonderful blossom and are usually used more as decoration rather than for eating but then I've been told that you can use them in cooking recipes if you prepare them right. Does anyone have any experience using them, any preparation techniques, recipes etc? We want to make the most of all our fruit trees on the land but this is the one we know nothing about and have never come across before. I also wanted to know what peoples preferred method of pruning was for tall bushes like these? Its difficult to get up high without standing on a ladder, which can sometimes be tricky if there's poor footing. I also don't like the idea of wielding a chain saw on an unstable surface up high. Any kind of powered tools that are safer to use but can prune higher branches? Thanks in advance.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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For tall hedges, there are two solutions.
First method is to get an arborist ladder, these are the most stable for working on trees or tall hedges and should be fairly easy to find by searching the net.
Second method is to purchase a pole saw, these can be had either as a manual saw or with a chainsaw attached, the chain saw models come both in electric and gas powered but they are normally not longer than 12-15 feet in length.

The ladder method would allow you to use loppers, hand pruning saws and other tools ( electric hedge trimmers, chain saws, pruning shears ) as well as put yourself in the best position to accomplish the work.
Arborist ladders come in two designs a tripod design and a wide base design that looks like a splayed standard step ladder. I prefer the tripod design for tree and hedge work since it allows me to get the proper, safest position.

Regardless of the method you use, the correct shape for tall hedges is wide at the base narrowing to the top, this is so the sun isn't shaded anywhere which can result in bare spots that just look ugly in a hedge.

If you are trying to maintain an established shape, build some forms that you can follow to check that you have not ruined the preset shapes.
 
Darren Oneil
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Thanks Bryant, those are a couple of good solutions. I'll have a look at what you've suggested a bit later and see what looks the best option for us.
 
Olga Booker
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Hi Darren,

I don't know much bout pruning crab apple trees, but here is a recipe for Crab apple jelly:

1) Wash the apples, removing any bruised fruit. Put in a saucepan, fill with water to just cover the apples.
2) Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft (about 30 minutes). At this stage, I mash them up a bit.
3) Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or several layers of muslin and let drip overnight into a pan. Do NOT squeeze the bag or it will make the juice cloudy.
4) The next day, measure the juice, and add sugar in the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 of sugar. Add some lemon juice, then bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
5) Keep at a rolling boil for 40 minutes, skimming off the froth. To test the set, chill a dessert spoon in the refrigerator.
6) When the jelly is set, it will solidify on the back of the spoon. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and tightly seal while still slightly warm. Store in a cool dark place.

Have fun and enjoy!
 
Darren Oneil
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Thanks for the recipe idea, sounds yum and fairly easy to do. My wife will be in-charge of that.
 
Henry Jabel
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Darren Oneil wrote:Hello everyone, I'm Darren from Ireland. Me and my partner have just moved into a new home and are trying to get stuck into the garden now there are signs of spring on the horizon. We are fortunate to have a large garden that comprises of several sections but along with that, comes a lot of maintenance. We have a lovely partitioning hedge that forms an archway and it is made up of Crab Apple. Apparently, Crab Apples give off a wonderful blossom and are usually used more as decoration rather than for eating but then I've been told that you can use them in cooking recipes if you prepare them right. Does anyone have any experience using them, any preparation techniques, recipes etc? We want to make the most of all our fruit trees on the land but this is the one we know nothing about and have never come across before. I also wanted to know what peoples preferred method of pruning was for tall bushes like these? Its difficult to get up high without standing on a ladder, which can sometimes be tricky if there's poor footing. I also don't like the idea of wielding a chain saw on an unstable surface up high. Any kind of powered tools that are safer to use but can prune higher branches? Thanks in advance.


Pole pruners are good if you dont want to get up high. They also sell battery operated pole pruners with mini chain saws on the end nowadays. My dad has one but I have not used it yet (I like climbing the trees and using a saw instead). I am pretty sure he bought it from lidl or aldi so it probably not the best if you have a whole orchard to do but I am sure it would do for what you need it for.

Crab apple jelly is really nice too. Though if you find it too much work to make you could always graft some other varieties on the tree aswell.
 
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