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in Fruit & veg
We have a cooking apple tree. It's old -quite possibly 58years old. It crops very well, We pruned it hard 3 years ago however one branch now needs chopping back by 2-3 feet as it's slowly pulling the tree over with the weight of fruit. Is it too late? Is there a danger of infection ? I don't want to kill the tree. Incidently any ideas how I can get some mistletoe to take on the tree?
The problem with pruning , as you've probably found, is that it stimulates growth, so cutting a branch back may only be a temporary solution. In some of the old orchards I used to know (mainly grubbed up now sadly) old trees were supported by large wooden props braced against the lower branches - I don't know if that's a possibility for your tree?
There's some info here http://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/blog/remedying-a-tree-that-is-falling-over/
It also suggests pruning on the opposite side to the way the tree is leaning, thus encouraging more growth on that side to even up the weight distribution - well worth considering.
As for getting mistletoe to 'take' on your tree, info here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/3345933/Mistletoe-How-to-grow.html
Many thanks for the web addresses etc. Unfortunately the tree is very close to an equally ancient mixed hedgerow - Privet, Holly, Blackberry, Bay- almost everything bar the kitchen sink and all but the Privet self seeded. The other side (our neighbours) stands a very tall Silver Birch whose overhanging branches we cut to light the apple. Pipistrelle bats roost in the Birch. Do you know if we tell the local council we will get it protected from development?
Sorry to stray off the subject,
Hi Harras, just a guide it might help, here in Norfolk the council altered a housing plan to accommodate an existing BAT PATH, perhaps if you have a route they often use as most bats do have, then they usually gets a fair looking after, in Nottingham one thats about 100 yards wide runs straight into the city along an old railway cutting from the Bulwell area it has stopped road widening for years. good luck,
Might reporting the bats affect how you handle your apple tree?