[NAFEX] Apple size in a restored orchard

Thomas Olenio tolenio at sentex.net
Fri Sep 17 17:21:43 EDT 2004


There is a lot of good advice to be found in online extension documents.

Go to Google ( http://www.google.com ) and enter this search term  
"Renovating Old Apple Trees".

Plenty of good reading there.


On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 13:22:41 -0700, Dan Durica <dandurica at hotmail.com>  

> I have recently taken over stewardship of an antique apple orchard of  
> unknown
> age (trunks are 1-1.5ft in diam.) with 29 standard trees of unknown  
> varieties in
> Madison WI Zone 5a. The orchard probably had not been pruned for 6 or 7  
> years (I'm
> guessing), though the trees were not entirely out of control. Major  
> branches had
> been pruned to within 10 and 15 ft of the ground years ago. Since then
> watersprouts have been growing vigorously, some reaching two or three  
> inches in
> diameter. Last spring we did an initial pruning of the orchard, taking  
> out many
> of the watersprouts and leaving some. We thinned the lower, older  
> branches to
> let in more light and air flow.
> Except for the wet season we've had which led to a lot of scab, the  
> orchard
> looks healthier than it did when the branches were so crowded. As well  
> we haven't
> lost any trees to storms, probably because of the pruning and fruit  
> thinning we
> did. We thinned the fruit in the lower branches to one fruit per cluster.
> Finally getting to my question--why is there such variation in the size  
> of the
> fruit this year? Some look a little bigger than large crabapples and  
> some on the
> same tree are the size of a softball. Most of the larger fruit are on the
> watersprouts, and the smaller fruit is on the lower branches, leading me  
> to
> believe that the lower wood is not producing well because it's older. Is  
> this
> why, or could it be that the lower wood was more shaded out last year,  
> before it
> was thinned out, and didn't have enough energy stored to produce well  
> this
> season?
> I should add that all of the trees had gone into alternate-year bearing,  
> so all
> the trees fruiting this year didn't last year.
> The reason I want to know is I was wondering if we should prune to renew  
> the
> lower wood, or if this wood will probably produce more next year now  
> that it has
> more light hitting it.
> Dan Durica
> Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's  
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