Removing fruit trees: what and why?

I am contemplating removing my Vandalay and Danube cherry trees for two years now. Danube is very non productive. Vandalay has a serious rot and cracking problem.

I could graft them over to other varieties but I am about to have it with cherry trees. Too much work with little return.

Just would like to hear from you. If you have removed fruit trees, what were they and why? Maybe, your input could save some of us a headache and a heartache.

Elberta peach, little to no production. Nectaplum, rot, cracking bark, little sized fruit. Replacing with red haven peach. No more cherries for me either, especially way down here with this heat and humidity.

Remove more stone fruits all the time and do not replace them because they are disease magnets. I think they are something best grown in small numbers. What I do plant I put a long way away from what I had planted. I have a reliance peach tree that I’ve grown 20+ years with no problems but it’s isolated.


I’ve not really had much production from my young orchard yet. But cherry trees do seem to be the most fickle so far. I have two cherry trees with about 6 varieties grafted and I do not plan on adding any more until those two trees prove themselves. I’m sure in my location apples will ultimately do the best with maybe pear and peach after that. I don’t have a lot of hope for the plums, pluots, apricots, and nectarines I’m growing but I’m giving them a try none the less.

I’ve removed hundreds of trees. My new favorite method is a sharp steel hatchet and good sized hammer. Clear out the crown area down to the root flare. Cut the roots by pounding the hatchet in at an angle towards any possible tap root. Leave the trunk several feet tall to give leverage on the roots. This is a lot easier than just using a sharp spade.


Same here, hundreds removed and more on the chopping block now :grinning:

The only reason not to remove something is maybe you didn’t give it enough chance. I removed several things I later regretted, my most pleasant surprise this year was the Reine de Mirabelles plum which I was just about to chop down last winter due to non-production. On the other hand there were many things I let hang on far too long.

I have gone up and down on cherries, I planted many then took most out and then added a few back. At this point there are only two cherries worth it for me, Montmorency and White Gold. I am hanging on to several varieties for a few more years to see if they start earning their keep. Vandalay sounds definitely up for removal; for Danube it depends on how you think the pruning is doing on, some trees need to settle down before they start producing and it may not be there yet. Its a hard call as I learned with my Reine de Mirabelles which produced a huge load this year after ten years of nothing.

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Thank you everyone for your input.

@fruitnut, thanks for the tip on leaving a trunk for leverage. Never thought of it. Often cut the trunk down to the ground and dig out the roots. Your method is a lot better.

@scottfsmith, I should have removed Vandalay since last year, a total waste of space.
Danube is such a stingy producer. It has flowered some for the past few years and set fewer than 10 -20 cherries. This year, the whole tree was covered with flowers but set about 50 cherries!!! Birds got to all of them before they ripened. I tasted a couple Danube last year. They were quite good, probably the sweetest of all sour cherries. Other also reported that Danube is a non productive variety.

I have to think about it again. It does not give me any trouble re. diseases (yet).

Speed why no hope on plum, pluots and nectarines? If you can grow peaches, I’d think you would do well with nectarines. Where I am, A plums give me less trouble than peaches.

It seems apricot is quite finicky with the sudden death issue.

I say that really just because of what is locally grown here in my part of WV. Lots of apples are grown within an hour of me but that’s about the only commercially planted fruit here. I know that some of my fruit trees are zone pushers (pluots and aprium) so I’m not convinced they will all be successful. I do know that there are some residential growers nearby that are successfully growing peaches. It seams like nectarines are harder to grow based on what ive read. A guy up the road is growing plums but said he has brown rot issues.

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I’ve heard a lot of good things about Reliance, it sounds like a peach worth trying.


I’m probably one of the others who has reported this, as my experience almost exactly mirrors Mamuang’s. Nice big tree with decent bloom and almost no production. I planted in spring 2012, so it has had 5 years in the ground and for at least the last 3 it has been stuck on 5-10 cherries per year. I’m not cutting it down, as it has grown well- just grafting onto it. A few sour cherries from ARS and a sweet from Mamuang (Black Star I think- luckily not Vandalay).

Maybe it will turn out to be one of the ones which needs to settle down. It certainly takes a lot longer to get started than North Star or the Canadian bush cherries.

I’ve removed a few for various reasons. Usually due to pest problems.

I’ll probably take out my dwarf Shipova soon. Been in for 3(?) years abd has grown less than 6". Frustrating!

What am I missing here?
Y’all already have a tree in ground with established roots. To me that is the investment. Only the top part exhibits the problem. Y’all are excellent grafters. Ergo, why not retread or ‘top work’ the problem part and not trash your whole investment? Won’t you have quicker results in terms of the change over since it is established? To me digging up a tree and planting a new one is a LOT of work, and, a time set back.


Anne, You make a good point, but sometimes you just want to get
rid of the damn thing in which you’ve invested so much time, work,
and money. Out with the old and in with the new. You guys must
like doing a lot of work. I just saw off the main part of the tree,
wrap a chain around the trunk, attach the other end to a truck
bumper, and pull it up. Quick and easy.


Contemplating removing pears for more apples.

Most 5 year old trees can be pulled out of the ground quite easily as Rayrose said. The truck provides easy leverage. Tie on some chains and it usually comes right out.

So Mamuang, why not give your trees a complete makeover. I’m still missing something.
The reason given by @rayrose…[quote=“rayrose, post:14, topic:7269”]
you just want to getrid of the damn thing in which you’ve invested so much time, work,and money

Seems like all the more reason to try to make something good out of your investment rather than yank it out of the ground. Please advise.

I have not expand my reasoning so here it is 1) I have limitd space. 2) this Vandalay has a poor structure, 3) sweet cherry is one of the more challenging fruit tree for me. Besides canker and brown rot, bug damage is plenty. Then, comes rain aka cracking. If they survive all that, birds can finish them off before me.

At one point, I have to ask myself if this tree is worth all the trouble. Vandalay isn’t. I can graft other sweet cherries on it which I have done. in the end, I would rather plant something less troublesome on that spot.

Black Gold is worth the trouble for now. Black Star is not yet producing. I may spare Danube for another year.


Regarding using a truck to pull the tree out, not possible. No room to maneuver a truck in my backyard. I have planted trees in rather close spacing.

I am in a very " thickly settled" subdivision. I don’t think my neighbor would like to have a truck on his side on land pulling my tree off the ground :grin:

Some of us just don’t have a lot of open space.


I like the way you think Ray. A friend gave me a 30’ telephone pole and I pulled it home with the tractor on the back roads about a mile or two. I never underestimate the power of a log chain. Those phone poles are much heavier than they look so that chain will pull out a very large tree!

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