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Reviving an overgrown garden

Posted by lucymay6 Winchester, MA Z5 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 14:15

Boy do I need some advice. I am embarking on a huge project of taming my parents' property that has been neglected and overgrown for many years. This posting concerns two trees, one apple and one crabapple. The apple is one that grew as a volunteer. There used to be a very old apple tree in the yard when I was growing up. It is gone now, but this is its child, and it is probably 15' tall now. My mother says it has never borne fruit or flower.

I'm wondering if it would be possible to graft cultivated varieties onto this well established specimen rather than cut it down? Any opinions?

The crabapple seems healthy and is producing many fruits and flowers. It has 4-5 large established suckers growing out. Probably 3" diameter. If I cut them all at once, will it shock the tree?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

You can graft apples of your choice on the apple tree. Your rootstock will have no dwarfing ability so expect a large tree. I would remove all suckers from your crabapples if you want to continue growing in the standard shape of your current trees. They will grow back and need removing again and again. Al


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

Thanks for your input! what do you think would happen if I cut off the top of the apple tree? Any chance I can make it shorter?


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

  • Posted by murky z8f pnw Portlan (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 19:15

If you cut off the top of the apple tree it will sucker like crazy. You can keep it lower by pruning and training the branches to spread horizontally along with continual and regular pruning.


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

If you really want some useful advice try to post a photo or few.


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

Here's a pic of the apple tree.


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

This is a close up of the first set of branches on the apple.


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

And this is the crab with all its suckers.


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RE: Reviving an overgrown garden

based on your input here, I've decided to prune all the suckers on the crabapple and to remove the apple tree. as much as I hate to kill a mature tree, it is growing right in the middle of where I want my vegetable garden to go.

The trouble with the crabapple pruning plan is that there is a mourning dove sitting on a nest in one of the sucker branches. So I will wait until she's done with her nest. Probably autumn.


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