Five years ago I decided to do major cutback of three standard (large) apple trees planted 40 yrs ago, with little care or pruning for most of those years. This one had five major limbs (more like trunks) because the nursery we bought from had cut out the central leader leaving those five low growing branches and I didn’t know anything about pruning (an understatement!) at that time (or for so many years after). Of course, now I wish I’d known about this forum before trying to “redo” these trees. But this one had this reasonable shaped new growth I’d been saving as we cut off the old limbs one a year, the last this spring, leaving this “new” tree. Which is doing fine. But now I’m looking at this and wondering how it will fare in the future. Will it likely find an “anchor” somehow down to the ground? Is there anything I can or should do to help assure its future?
I forgot the photos… (I’m still figuring how to post).
This before we cut the last limb off.
I think it will last, it could be 5 years or another 40. Lots of old wild apples have lost major limbs, or trunks and regrown. The original trunk will eventually rot away, leaving a neat hollow. Plants are amazingly resilient given chance. But I would keep the height lower than the original tree to reduce stress on the base.
You might get several more years out of this tree but I would consider adding a replacement tree soon just in case it fails. Bill
As long as the original tree was healthy it means the roots are good and it should turn into a fine tree in a few years. The case where this doesn’t work is when the tree is in decline at the roots.
Thanks, that eases the worry. The original tree was still going strong, and if the forest of suckers is any indication the root system is great. And we do have another of the same variety that we’ve cut back and has lots of good growth. But I may just graft onto something else, too, just in case. I don’t know the variety. We were told they were Prairie Spys but just last year I finally read a description and saw photos of the fruit of PS and these aren’t that. But we like it so want to keep it going.