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Author Topic: Apple Trees  (Read 1538 times)
KONASDAD
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« on: January 19, 2007, 04:25:08 PM »

I moved into my present home 15 months ago. On my Poperty are four standard apple trees. Probably deliciious or pippen variety. It appears they have not been pruned in decades. Last year they flowered and i got many ugly(partially rotten, odd shaped, ), but tasty apples. These trees are about 45ft tall and they are showing signs of aging. Dead limbs, cancerous spots, and limbs w/o fuit. I want to prune these trees to perhaps give them a second chance at life, and increase their productivity. A few questions, however.
I want to leave the bees as many blooms as possible. Therefore, Do I prune now, or wait until after they bloom? Do I get aggressive and cut massive portions of limbs down, or spread it out over two seasons?

Secondly, I want to order more fruit trees and perhaps a filbert tree. Do you recomend a mail order company for these items? If so, whom?
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thomashton
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2007, 07:16:20 PM »

Well, last year I had the exact same situation. Everything I read told me to prune while the tree is dormant. I did so and had a very small harvest last year. One tree didn't even bear, but I expect it to be much better this year. The crown is open, the dead is gone and it should be much better.

As for new trees. I buy from lawyernursery.com. Their minimum order is $250, but they are wonderful. I have 12 of their european filberts (hazelnuts) and all have been doing great. You need a couple of them for pollination. They do have lots of fruit tree varieties.
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2007, 07:23:18 PM »

i think the best time to prune is during times of dormancy, which is now. i dont think radical pruning will hurt in any way if you know what to prune. poor yield is often due to over production in the previous year. many people cull fruit from the tree when it looks like its over producing in one year.
my experience with mail order fruit trees has been not very good. the dwarf cherry trees i got from stark many years ago have grown as big as regular trees and haven't ever produced fruit. i'm sure the lack of fruit is due to birds and bugs and late season frosts but the size is just not what i thought i bought.
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ChickenWing
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2007, 08:05:39 PM »

Stark Brothers has some great trees.  I got fruit off of them the first season, both apples and peaches.  Plus they gave me some free giant stawberries plants. 

www.starkbros.com
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Kev
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2007, 08:50:34 PM »

Therefore, Do I prune now, or wait until after they bloom? Do I get aggressive and cut massive portions of limbs down, or spread it out over two seasons?

Secondly, I want to order more fruit trees and perhaps a filbert tree. Do you recomend a mail order company for these items? If so, whom?

Pruning isn't hard, but you should do it right to have the best effect on your trees. For rehabilitating a standard apple, you want to remove 1/3 of the branches a year so that over 3 years you restore the tree. You want to prune most fruit trees when they're dormant (peaches are an exception). Don't go at it with a chainsaw. Radical pruning can harm a tree. The goal of pruning is to stimulate the tree to fruit and to shape the tree so it is productive and easy to take fruit off of.

Check out Pruning Made Simple by Lewis Hill for more information . It's worth owning this book because he explains how to properly prune fruit, nut, berry and even hedges.

You mentioned dead limbs etc. There is a particularly nasty apple disease is called Fire blight. [I had a link here to a site with good info on fireblight at the University of West Va, but because I'm a newbee the server made me take it out. Do a google search and you'll find it.]
 
It's a bacterial infection that's spread by bees during pollination. It makes the limbs of the trees look like they've been scorched by fire. If you see signs of it on the trunk of the tree, you should consider turning the tree into firewood.

If you don't get rid of diseased trees nearby, you risk infecting any new trees you put in.

Lastly, we've had really good luck buying from Miller Nurseries they're online at millernurseries.com. I live in upstate NY, so having stock from the fingerlakes area is good because it's even colder there than where we live.

Good luck
Kev


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KONASDAD
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2007, 08:41:48 AM »

Fire Blight? heard of it but nveer saw it I think. No, my limbs look like they died and now have moss and lichen, mushrooms and the like. It appears to be where it was last pruned or limbs broke during storms.
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Cindi
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 09:43:28 AM »

My personal opinion.  Don't know an awful lot about pruning, but what I am hearing about taking a few years (3) to prune sounds good.  I know that many apple trees are what they call "tip bearers", so I think that must be kept in mind.

I have only a few trees and this year I am going to invest in a professional pruner to prune these trees.  I will watch and learn.

I have a Stellar cherry tree that I pruned back to nothing about 5 years ago.  It did not bear fruit that same year, but the next year it was beyond magnificent.  Last summer it was way too tall and we had to get the extension ladder to harvest the cherries. 

That was when I ran into the bald faced hornet nest way up at the top.  I was very lucky that I heard them first.  They are really nasty, very very protective and I think I got out of the way just in time.  I now will always survey the situation and watch for their beautiful nest before I venture in that tree top.  It is unlikely that they will be there this year though, I am of the understanding that they find a new place every season.  Smart, now aren't they?  Great day.  Good luck with pruning responses.  Cindi
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Kev
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2007, 08:22:51 PM »

Fire Blight? heard of it but nveer saw it I think. No, my limbs look like they died and now have moss and lichen, mushrooms and the like. It appears to be where it was last pruned or limbs broke during storms.

It's pretty bad looking. You can find good pics of it by doing a google search. Pruning out the dead stuff is a great first step. I highly recommend that Lewis Hill book. I looked at it yesterday and realized I got the name wrong slight. It's Pruning Made Easy. He has great step by step instructions for pruning everything. It even has a whole section on rehabilitating old fruit trees.

Your bees should like a blooming apple tree.

kev
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KONASDAD
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Location: Cherry Hill, N.J.


« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 10:06:37 AM »

Thanx. Just bought Pruning Made Easy on Ebay w/ shipp less than $10. Another info book to read this winter!!
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"The more complex the Mind, the Greater the need for the simplicity of Play".
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