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I have two dwarf apple trees which have crossed over. One variety is call greensleaves and has not fruited for 3 years until last year. The other tree is more like a braeburn, which I prefer. Now both varieties are growing on both trees. My problem is that the greensleaves variety has so much mildew on it that it affects the fruit. I do give the trees a winter wash but still get the mildew on the greensleaves but not on the braeburn variety. If I cut down the offending tree would the remaining tree revert to it's original variety? Help!
Hi marion, what you describe is not possible - cross pollination only affects the seeds and cannot change the variety of an existing tree. What can happen is that branches can grow from below the graft point (virtually all apple trees have the named variety grafted onto a different rootstock.) If branches are allowed to grow from below the graft, they will produce apples of the rootstock variety. As rootstocks are chosen for their vigour and not fruit, these branches will usually take over and become dominant. Have a look to see if you can find the original graft union and remove any branches which come from below that point.
Mildew can also badly affect a tree enough to change the quality of the fruit. It is difficult to deal with but generally is due to dryness at the roots and high humidity in the air. You can do little about the humidity, but giving the trees a regular and deep watering should help with the dryness. My advice would be to keep a circle of ground, about a metre in diameter around the base of the trunks, clear of grass, weeds and other plants. After watering them well, mulch this area with a good layer of garden compost mixed with well rotted farmyard manure from a garden centre. Top the layer up each Spring. Also make sure you are pruning the trees properly so that their is plenty of light and air getting into the centre and ensure the trees are not being overly shaded by surrounding trees and large shrubs.
...unless the trees have grown together and the branches have fused...?
Perhaps some photographs would help?
hello all, I am not too clever at the computer stuff so don't really know if I'm replying to one or all. Thank you for your contributions. But this is directed to Bob The Gardener. Well I have learnt something from your comprehensive advice. The trees are 2 foot apart but only one gets mildew. Is there a reason for this? I prune then every other year. I have no idea what the original graft union looks like. As I said in my profile, I'm not really a gardener! There are branches from the very bottom to the top. The trees are approximately 13/15 years old.
I realize that a picture would be of help but I don't know how to put it on this forum. My great niece will be here next week, maybe she can show me.
I'm not usually helpless. I only know the computer basics.
The graft union is where the root is joined to the variety of the Apple. It is somewhere near the base of the tree. Look for a swelling in the stem just above soil level. Anything which is growing from below that (and it sounds like you have) is a sucker. I'll bet these are the ones with the different coloured apples on them. you need to remove them , as close to the stem as possible. Any small bit of branch left could grow again.
Marion use the tree on the top of the box and follow the easy instructions
Hi Marion, Berghill has explained it very well. The graft union will look something like this (click the link below to see):
They are usually near the bottom of the trunk, but can sometimes be higher.
Well, Thank you all so much for your help. I have noticed what you describe and it is very rough and lumpy- that's gardening speak!! Is it important when I do it?
I live in N. Wales, so tomorrow and Saturday are out according to the weather forecast but should give the roots a good drink.
I will keep you posted....if you're interested! Thanks again.
Hello Marion - yes please - do keep us posted - and if we use obscure gardening speak let us know - rough and lumpy we understand
I'd like to get those branches from below the graft union removed as soon as possible - use a pair of sharp secateurs and cut them flush with the trunk - but if you're not sure it can wait until your great niece has shown us a pic
Hello again all, I have taken some pics of the tree but unfortunately I am unable to put them on here. I have had my computer man here and he tried various ways, without success. When I follow the tree link and click on computer drops down so I am unable to access the browser
I don't appear to have any braches below the lumpy union, but I do have them just above. I hope that helps.
Hello again all, I have taken some pics of the tree but unfortunately I am unable to put them on here. I have had my computer man here and he tried various ways, without success. When I follow the tree link and click on computer nothing drops down so I am unable to access the browser