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in Problem solving
We have an apple tree which we think is circa 5 years old. It is around 8 feet tall with trunk diameter of around 4cm.
The tree has been strangled by a strap which was left in place around 3 feet above the ground level. Everything below the strap has grown well with fruit on the tree. We noticed the strap 5 weeks ago. Above the strap the leaves were less plentiful and have subsequently died and fallen off. The wood of the branches appears dead above the strap. Below the strap things remain healthy.
My questions are as follows:
1) should I just leave the tree to see what happens next spring.
2) should I cut the tree back and if so to what level (above or just below the place where the strap was).
3) If I do cut it back is it likely to grow a new central stem from below the point I cut it back?
I would very much like to keep the tree if possible. I am not concerned about the appearance of the tree, just trying to save it.
I assume you have now removed the strap.
There is nothing to be gained by leaving to see what happens,this might even make the problem worse.
I would cut it off to just below the first healthy bit of central stem,the central stem will probably not regrow,but will send up new shoots from around it.The resulting tree will probably be more open goblet shaped,but this is not a bad thing.
I tend to use gardening velcro to tie tree to stakes.looped round in a sort of figure of eight to avoid similar problems to yours,but ties do need frequent checks.
Yes we removed the strap as soon as we noticed what was happening.
Thanks very much for your advice.
Depending on the rootstock it may be the tree needs a support throughout its life. You may need to replace the strap, but obviously not with one that harms the tree.