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08/08/2013 at 14:20

In our new house I have inherited a large, mature apple tree.  I have no idea where to start in terms of pruning it.  I see the new growth (long lateral shoots which haven't gone woody) at the very top (any recommendations of good, sturdy, but very high ladders for pruning?) and so far from what I've read, these bits are pretty straightforward in terms of how to prune.  However, there are a lot of woody bits (which don't look too healthy) but still have fruit.  When summer pruning a mature apple tree, does one leave the woody bits alone?  I was hoping to clear out some of the congestion to allow more light and air among the tree.

Thanks for your help!

08/08/2013 at 19:16

Knowing the variety would help.  If it is a spur bearer.....check where your fruit is, at the ends of branches or alomg the branches.

I rejuvenated apple trees.....spur bearers....by removing all water shoots.....the mass of thin shoots that grow everywhere after a mass pruning.......completely or to a couple of buds.  Removed branches growing inwards.  Removed branches that were old.  Reduced the height of the tree.  My aim was to achieve a vase shape with an open centre.  The following summer I did the same.  One tree, ironically I discussed yesterday, is now full of apples.  The UNGRATEFUL friend moaned she didn't like those apples......ah well!

Obviously remove all cankered or diseased wood completely.

Some may argue that this should be done in winter.  For me it is a summer prune designed to induce fruit production not growth

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