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Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Posted by reyesuela Z7 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 27, 09 at 13:26

We have a bunch of fruit tress, 20-45 years old, on our property.

We have, at minimum, peach, apple, and persimmon.

We have not had a SINGLE mature fruit from these trees since we have moved in. The peach trees always get a bunch of fruit, but it disappears before it is ripe. I'm not sure if the squirrels steal it or if it drops and then the squirrels steal it, but deer are also a major problem (and have killed one of the smallest trees since we've moved in).

These trees haven't been pruned in more than 10 years. They are all small, however--maybe 15-20 ft tall for the biggest, most smaller--so they are easy to reach.

What on earth should I do to get fruit??? I need an idiot's guide for how to take established trees and revitalize them.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Yes the squirrels are eating your peaches. If you want peaches you better kill the bushy tailed rats. Just google pruning fruit trees and you will get plenty of info. If they need lots of pruning don't do it all in one year.

good luck


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Yep, I've watched those buggers steal unripe peaches from my tree. If killing them isn't your forte, you can also use squirrel-proof tree netting. Keeps birds out, too.


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Yeah, that'd be an exercise in futility, however entertained DH would be by it--we back a state preserve!

Netting is the way to go. I'm going to kill myself getting it on. :-)

Does anyone have links to basic pruning, spraying, etc schedules, laid out very simply? Most of the links I find are aimed at more knowledgeable people.

Also, how does shade affect fruit production, assuming the bloom and growth are good?


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Squirrel proof netting... hmmm, you mean chicken wire. I have used the strongest netting on the market (woven propylene) and come on, if a squirrel can eat through black walnuts how much trouble do you think non metalic netting will be. Not much if they're hungry in my experience although it may work if they have other sources of food a little less trouble to get.

Electric fencing can work, especially the constant charge type. Pulsating charges won't stop all the squirrels when they are epidemic. If you go back a piece you can find lots on this site about squirrels, including Don's famous peanut butter and plaster of paris bon-bons.


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Slippery trunk-wrap may work for one set far away from other trees...


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hmmm

Actually, looking at the other posts, I'm thinking it has more to do with the coons, 'cuz my trees are getting stripped BARE of fruit.

We also have the world's fattest groundhogs. But I think they only get the fallen scraps.


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Well, till you said coons, I was going to lend you a cat or two. Cats ignore coons - some kind of union rule!!! lol. Maybe an exuberant, large, aggressive dog???

Nancy.


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

All these animals main reason why when I get my land I keep thinking more and more of keeping everything I use for food in a greenhouse. Its like $20k for a little less than 3000sf.


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

When coons are the problem, you can usually tell because they break the branches. Our stolen fruit problem is RATS. If I don't reduce the rat population this time of year, I will not get a single fruit off of 20 fruit trees. Al


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

I had the same problem once, and I watered and fertilized a lot, and made sure I cut out dead branches. That's a great start. Within 2 years, my half dead trees were producing quite well.

Sorry to say that some of your trees are senior citizens are are post menopausal. Most peach trees don't produce much after 25 years, but apple trees can easily go over 100.


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Make sure you never cut out more than 25-30% of your tree in any one season or it will take a long time to recover. Oregon State has a great site with pics and everything on how to prune old tree properly - I've included the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning neglected apple trees


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Thank on the care advice--and that link is exactly what I was looking for! (I found a lot for NEW trees but little for old, overgrown ones.)


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And...

BTW, my peach trees make quite a decent amount of fruit--I keep running into the peach pits all over my lawn from four-legged invaders!


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RE: Many mature but NEGLECTED fruit trees--one ignorant owner!

Make sure you never remove more than 25% to 30% of the apple tree or it will take a long time to recover? I just love these chestnuts of horticulture that get passed on from generation to generation- they're kindof like urban legends.

The nice thing is that no one actually knows when they've removed 30% of a tree or even what that means. If you mean the actual spread of the canopy their might just be something to it. However a healthy neglected apple tree can often have up to 80% of it's small wood removed and over half of it's structural wood and still give you a great crop that season. It may even entirely close the canopy by mid-summer.

After renovating literally thousands of old apple trees I figure I'm entitled to some attitude here. Only when an apple tree has gotten to the point where it has lost true vigor do you have to be careful about how much wood you remove- otherwise just leave lots of small wood for your crop and don't drasticly reduce a trees spread- especially in a single year.


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