HAVE a problem with our apple trees. We bought a property which
already had two old apple trees. The apple trees had already flowered
when we moved in, and within a short space of time it became apparent
that they weren't in the best condition, with only one tree bearing
one apple of poor quality. In August, I pruned the tree back lightly,
in hopes of obtaining more growth. But I'm wondering if I should
I have given it a harder prune. I should also mention that we have
poplars which are only within a few metres of the trees. Someone
recently said that these leach all the nutrients from the soil and
should not be planted within 30m of fruit trees. Are the apple trees
resurrectable or should we give up the fight?
poplars will certainly compete aggressively with your apple trees
for water and nutrients and will probably shade them also. Any watering
and feeding you do to the apple tress will also benefit the poplars.
If you can't get rid
of the poplars I suggest you plant some more apple trees as far
away from them as possible. But don't give up on the old ones just
yet - give them another year or two.
Don't worry about pruning
the apple trees until this summer has passed, but if practicable
cut the poplars back to let as much light into the apples as possible.
Observe how well the
apple trees flower this spring and whether the number of fruit produced
is in proportion to the number of flowers. If they flower well but
produce few fruit then you may have a pollination problem, which
could be the result of cold spring weather affecting bee activity
or few bees in the area. Or it could be there is no suitable pollinating
apple variety in the near vicinity. Most apples need to be pollinated
with pollen from another variety of apple to produce good crops
of fruit. See what happens this season and get back to me in autumn
for further advice.
Gardener, Issue 158, 2004, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.