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I have just moved house to a garden with a large old apple tree.  I have already harvested some windfalls which were very popular in crumble (Nigel slaters recipe from Internet) but there are only a few left on the tree (about thirty) and it seems rather early for them to be all gone! The house had been empty for several months before we moved in, and with a hot dry summer maybe the tree has suffered and will be fine next year? Anyway, never had an apple tree before, any tips on getting a good crop next year? 

Would you say that the apples were cookers only or do you think they could also be eaters when ripe?

Are (were) the fruits at the ends of the branches, along the branches on short spurs, or both?

Just trying to get an idea of the variety ot at least the type of apple.

Can you give us a photo to get an idea of the size and general condition of the tree?

Thank you for your reply, I'll do a photo tomorrow when it's light. I'd say cooking apple, but not huge like you buy in the shops. Fruits are along the branches and at the ends. Fruits are 'Granny Smith'  green when unripe and only a little yellower when ripe. 

OK, look forward to the photos.


Hello Jane

Your tree doesn't look too bad at all. Not terribly old. From what you have said about its colour and the timing of the fruits' ripening, I 'll make a guess and say that it is a Grenadier apple. An old variety, an early one to ripen and a good one for cooking.

If you want to have a stab at pruning it, you will need to do that in the winter, between November and March, on a mild day so that you don't get frostbite.

until then, pick the apples and enjoy them.  Come back in November for further instructions!

That's great so it's just an early one, nothing wrong with it, I'll look forward to next years crop then! 

I'm finding I have a bit of a problem with earwigs, are they eating the fruit, or just living in the holes made by other creatures? 

Thanks so much for your help. 

Earwigs are great opportunists and will take advantage of anything that they think is edible. They will have found a crack or a hole in the fruit and gone in there to take a look. You can catch them by putting flowerpots stuffed with dry grass upside down on top of a bamboo cane. What you do with them once you have caught them is up to you!


This might be a bit obvious because I know hardly any apple varieties but its not our well loved Bramley, is it? 'Cos Bramleys are also tip bearers (I at have least learnt that this year!)

I'm gathering Bramley's as they fall off the tree, lots with earwigs, and to prevent the little b***ers moving from damaged apples to the sound ones that have also come off the tree I leave them all in a full bowl of cold water. The pests come out of the apples to breathe then drop into the water.

If only all garden pests were so obliging eh, Waterbutts?

It could well be a Bramley, Birdy, but the yellow fruit on the left side of the tree looks a bit pointy in shape and puckered (yes, I did say puckered) at the flower end. My Bramleys are a bit more doughnut shaped than that. Also, though it may just be position in UK, my Bramleys are nowhere near ripe yet.

Incidentally, you lot in the "Indian summer" sun will be glad to know that here it is grey, cool and with just a threat of rain for the afternoon looking likely. And we're painting the house! 

Yes, we could drop Dilbert in. a bucket of water. Enjoying the poem very much, though when I said let's have a poetry corner I never expected us to need quite such a big corner to put it in.

gardenning granny

Many old trees are biennial croppers - that is they give a very heavy crop one year, and virtually nothing the next.  I'm lucky, with three very old trees (no idea of variety) when one is cropping heavily the others are "resting" so we always have plenty of fruit to spare.  The extreme weathere of the last few years has upset a lot of old trees though as they have struggles to cope first with waterlogging then with drought.

Perhaps you should just leave it be - and maybe wassail it with s few friends for encouragement!


These Bramleys are about the size of a healthy cricket ball, admittedly I well below the sizes they can reach. But they seem to be ripe - they certainly make wonderful stewed apple or a fruit compôte, and have just the right amount of tartness before adding sugar.



Beautiful apples, Birdy. Are they yours?

Sorry, couldn't resist that. Mine are not half so well groomed.



It's a question of knowing how to pose the subject to optimise the visual effect... 

I only show off my best ones, Waterbutts.

I could've  shown you the manky old windfalls but that wouldn't have done it for you, would it? 

Lovely. They don't look anything like the apples on my tree though. There's no hint of red on any of them, and they are about tennis ball rather than cricket ball size! Tried to get a close up of one on the tree but it hey are all too far away!   Btw We are in Cardiff so way down south.

They don't look anything like the apples on my tree either, and it's a Bramley.


Sorry Waterbutts - whose apple are you identifying as a Bramley? Eh? EH?

(sorry again, was I shouting?)


Can I hijack and ask about my apple tree? This year it was set upon by small black things that made the leaves all shrivelled  It has produced some tiny apples, which I think I will discard, however, my question is, should I cut off the dead shrivelled leaves or leave them to fall off by themselves in Autumn? 

I appreciate that I have not perhaps treated my tree well, but it is my first year of owning it (new house & new to gardening)