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dpack

apple pruning questions

the ancient trees are around 70 to a 100 yrs old most of the regenerative, crossing branches and deadwood winter pruning they need over three years is all to fairly small (sub 4 inch diameter ) branches. these i was not going to treat with any sort of stump seal.

does that sound ok ?

one of them is leaning a lot ( mower damage , debarking and rot to about half the trunk circumference ,and 2 dead support roots below the debarked side. the other side seems pretty healthy considering )
it seems wise to reduce the mass on the lean side and encourage it to grow back over the centre of gravity so as it cantilever on the remaining sound roots.

this requires 3 fairly major cuts to branches around 6 to 8 inches diameter.
one started as the trunk but is now horizontal to downhill and the other two are more in the vertical but were branches.
if it does not get rebalanced a "crutch" is the only other option i can think of to prevent it falling over and i find them ugly, short term and prone to cause problems to living bark and wood.
it is positioned such that lying down would be very inconvenient so it would be cleared.

with these cuts should i treat the stumps? if so with what?

having looked online most advice is not to use sealant ( my usual practise ) but it seems to be referring to quite small branches in an ongoing pruning system rather than major surgery to a venerable old tree that i really don't want to kill .
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Not an arborist - but everything I have seen in last few years says not to use any seal, for fear of trapping spores etc in the wound. The tree will heal itself.
Obviously there is always a risk, but I've never seen it specified that this refers only to young or small branches.

Any chance of a temporary crutch and striking some cuttings, just in case? Taking weight away from the rotten bits sounds good to me in any case.

Would anyone at Askham Bryan be able to advise?
Slim

No one seals wounds anymore. Traps moisture in, etc...

You want the tree to seal that wound off on its own, which it usually will. For trees that old, the center is going to rot out one way or another anyways, so it's just kind of a "what're ya gonna do?" situation.

I agree with trimming the leaner so that you're re-selecting a leader that is more upright. If you don't want to remove too much wood right now, a crutch isn't the worst thing for a year or two, just keep it loose. Eventually the tree will be upright and counterweighted enough that the crutch will probably fall down on its own. (hopefully)
dpack

Thanks folks,i had hoped it would probably be ok with no sealant, i will ask my chum at Askam to have a look at it regarding crutch or no crutch and how much to take off first go , my feeling is it might not make it past leaf spread next year if we dont reduce the 25 ft of horizontal with a long crown Rolling Eyes fairly severely asap.

i had forgotten to mention it would be about 35 ft high if it was upright Laughing
Slim

Sounds like it would be a worth a before/after photo set
Hairyloon

Is it leaning over far enough that it could go a bit further and be encouraged to take root from the other end?

Just a thought, I may not have explained it well. Confused
Slim

Is it leaning over far enough that it could go a bit further and be encouraged to take root from the other end?

Just a thought, I may not have explained it well. Confused


Ha! I love it. You could plant root stock below the other edge and graft! Apple bench!
Ty Gwyn

No one seals wounds anymore. Traps moisture in, etc...

You want the tree to seal that wound off on its own, which it usually will. For trees that old, the center is going to rot out one way or another anyways, so it's just kind of a "what're ya gonna do?" situation.

I agree with trimming the leaner so that you're re-selecting a leader that is more upright. If you don't want to remove too much wood right now, a crutch isn't the worst thing for a year or two, just keep it loose. Eventually the tree will be upright and counterweighted enough that the crutch will probably fall down on its own. (hopefully)


That`s why the old method of sealing a large cut was to lime.
Mistress Rose

I would agree with the others. In big trees we make sure the cut is slightly further out from the tree at the top of the cut if possible so that water doesn't stay on it, which might help. Cut back to sound wood where possible. I would also agree with trying to strike cuttings of the old trees and regrafting onto new rootstock if possible, particularly that one. Then if you lose the old tree, at least you have the same one available in a slightly different form. dpack

thanks folks

now i need a cold snap for a couple of weeks.
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