Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:02 am
Location: Rome, GA

Pruning a 42 year old winesap apple tree.

We recently inherited an old house and the surrounding land. On it is a winesap apple tree that was planted when my husband was born, in 1970. Over the next two days, I am looking to prune this venerable old guy. My concerns are for one, that I am an utter noob at pruning. For two, the tenants that lived here for several years before we got here neglected it utterly. It is now an 18 ft tall and about 25 ft wide tangled mess. For three, it is a treasured heirloom, and my honor requires that I do the job right.
I need to get it to a manageable size. Even with all the fruit it put out last year, the birds and ants got the better portion of it as we couldn't reach high enough to get the vast majority of the apples.
I have read a lot about the pruning process for an apple tree, but I don't have any real hands on experience. Any advice, tips and tricks I can get from those more experienced than I with such things would be greatly appreciated. :)

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

Hi LB.
Re-structuring old apple trees takes a few years to complete.
It usualy means that some of the very large old branches that are reaching for the sky in the middle of the tree must be reduced by quite a large amount and crossing and damaged or deseased wood removed.
If you could get a photo onto the forum it would make it much easier to help.
Often up to a half of the trees wood can be removed but it is best done over two or three years so that the tree has time each year to recovour and grow new fresh timber.

Senior Member
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:00 pm
Location: Chicago area

Pruning and 42 year old winesap apple tree.

Hello LordBurghley. Ken here in the Chicago area. Jona is right.
it's going to take about four years to get this tree back into shape
for good fruit production. You are going to cut it back in stages so
you still can get apples during this period. Here are two links to help
you get your apple tree back into shape. One is from Ohio State U. on
how to create pruning bays to allow access to fruit and the ability to prune.
The second is from Oregon State U. on how to prune the tree back
into shape. Keep us posted on your progress.

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/umatil ... letree.pdf

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