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Duncan Blackwell
Out apple tree has been here for 15 years, it's been gradually getting closer to the ground, I've restaked it upright and it looks better already. It is however very tall, could I take off the top of the main growth and leave the sides to grow without it causing any problems?

Yes you it now.  But be prepared to prune back in late summer any lomg whippy shoots.  Take advantage too to remove all dead branches and branches that are crossing others.  

You don't say what variety of apple tree you have but if a spur bearer.....I.e. bearing apples along the branches .....I would cut back ...spur back....several sub branches in late summer. 

Duncan Blackwell
I think its a coxs, they always look a bit rough but taste amazing. The branches I've removed today were covered in tiny bunches of shoots. I've removed the forward facing ones as they were helping the tree to lean forward, I've tried to just keep the side branches. If I can get to the top growth on Sunday (next day off) I can reduce it by about 4ft and still keep some good size branches too

Cox is a spur bearer so pruning is pretty easy.

I have rejuvenated a couple of apple trees.  Thing is to reduce or remove the mass of water shoots that come from drastic pruning.  For me it is a common sense get the tree you want and not to be overcome with too much theory of what to do and what not to do.

.......mind ??ou my sis in law once accused me of killing her apple tree many years ago but I did point out at the time her tree was already dying.  (never wrong, see! )

Duncan Blackwell
What are water shoots?

The tree as it stands (no pun intended) has the main trunk with some sizeable branches with smaller branches shooting off them. The tree has alway looked scabby but never any problems with the fruit.

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