Apple tree early growth query & pruning

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Joe Hicks

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Apple tree early growth query & pruning
« on: January 14, 2020, 13:50 »
Hi everyone, I bought a Sunset Apple on M9 rootstock in Dec 2018 and planted it shortly after on my allotment in full sun. It appears to have established okay and grew this year, but I'm unclear if it's thriving or struggling after its first year's growth, and if it's not grown well should I hold off pruning it this year or not?

I have attached a photo of it. It was about 3 feet when purchased and is now about 4.5 feet with just 4 very upright main branches. However, I also planted two plum trees on pixy rootstock at the same time, and they were the same size when purchased, but one is a good 6.5-7 feet and the other has one or two branches at least 8-9 feet or higher, and both probably have double the number of main branches as the apple. Hence why I'm concerned the apple isn't doing well. These are my first fruit trees so I'm unclear on how much growth to expect - maybe plums are just particularly vigorous?

Thanks for any advice.



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Re: Apple tree early growth query & pruning
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 17:30 »
I am in no way an expert but I planted an apple 2 winters ago and it looks very similar. Canít remember the rootstock.  The branches are still very wispy and I have to tie them in when the fruit is in to stop them snapping.
Iím a bit worried about your plum tree. I have ordered damsons on a bush rootstock and I donít have much space. I donít want it turning into a monster!



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Re: Apple tree early growth query & pruning
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 18:44 »
I'd say that the answer lies in the soil. Annual application of well rotted manure helps no end.



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Re: Apple tree early growth query & pruning
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2020, 09:51 »
Iíve also been reading up on pruning my young apple trees.

Yours does look small but itís on M9 and I think mine are semi dwarfing.

I would treat it as a 2 year old tree and cut the branches to an outward facing bud to encourage the shape to widen into the goblet shape that everyone raves about. You could cut them back quite hard to 1/3 for a better shape or when I was in Canada they tended to weigh branches down with rocks tied on to the branches.

Iíve messed up pruning a tree last winter and now itís very upright - I think it should have been pruned right back last year and I didnít because I assumed it was 1 year old. So Iím going to weigh the branches down.

Photo of my poor upright tree and a pic from online using sand bags as weights.

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