dieing somerset redstreak??

RodUKMarch 7, 2014

hi, firstly hello. im new here and definately new to anything green or anything that grows other than kids and hair.!
i moved into a new home that has 2 apple trees. a bramley and what i believe to be a someset redstreak apple.
the redstreak is a very mature tree but is dieing and i dont believe there is anything i can do to stop this as the bark has completely come away from the tree, this happened 2 seasons ago. i believe this will be its last year.
however, i really dont want to lose the tree as it has the most gorgeous fruit i have ever tasted.
i have spent the last 24 hours scouring youtube, learning as much as i can about grafting etc etc.
at the base of my tree, there are 2 clusters of rootstock.
1 cluster looks as though its joined to the tree but just under the surface of the dirt, the other cluster is about 6 inches away from the base of the tree.
these rootstocks, if left alone will they just grow into another redstreak or do i have to pull these out and use them for grafting..(really scared of this option)..lol
thankyou in advance for any advice or help given.

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one more picture from a slightly diferent angle..

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 8:49AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

You will need to graft from dormant new growth on to the suckers coming up at the base. There are lots of videos of how to graft on the internet or you can see detailed pictures below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Konrad's modified bark grafting

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Since apples don't grow true-to-type from seed your tree is almost certainly grown by cutting a scion from another Somerset Redstreak and grafting it to a rootstock chosen for one reason or another (to cause dwarfing to some degree, or resistance to certain diseases, tolerance to certain soils, anchoring, economy, and so forth).

Only the part of the tree above the graft is Redstreak; whatever sprouts below is the rootstock sending out shoots and they are not Redstreak.

So you cannot use cuttings from those shoots to produce Redstreak. BUT you can surely take cuttings from above the rootstock and graft them to those shoots, or to any other desirable apple rootstock. The fruit produced from the grafted portion will be Redstreak. A cutting (scion) from your Redstreak which grew on the shoots shown would be a genetic replica of your existing tree.

The scions you cut from your Redstreak -not from the shoots at the base of the tree, but from the upper part of the tree- are most likely to succeed if they are nice and young and vigorous, and last year's new growth fills the bill. On older trees these can be hard to find. Ideally you want several inches of pencil-sized wood. Water sprouts are great if you have any but you might not. If you've done any pruning in the last two years you should have new growth somewhere.

If you find suitable wood cut and bag and refrigerate your scions right now.

But your tree may well last longer than you think. Why not post more pictures? Maybe somebody here will give you some ideas on keeping it healthy for a few more years. They can be pretty resilient, and with care can surprise you, and that would be really neat for you.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:04PM
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One trick on the rootstocks is to intentionally grow them into many new trees. You will need to graft them. I will attach a link to Stephen Hayes YouTube channel on how to do it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing rootstocks

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:12PM
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hi, thankyou everyone for your input and ideas.
i did cut it back quite hard 2 years ago so i have plenty of new wood to get scions from, i have already taken 8 pencils and are wrapped in 2 plastic bags and in my fridge awaiting suitable rootstock.
i noticed that my local nursery has an apple tree for sale with no label so they have reduced its price to ã10. its quite large and in a large pot already so i assume this might be a good way to get a new tree going...
i will take some more pics very soon and get them on here.
thanks again

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:47AM
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forgot to say..the rootstocks that are growing from the base of my tree are coming out from a large existing root approx 1cm under the soil. so i dont think i will be able to use these as rootstocks?.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:50AM
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Those are "suckers" - and yes, you could use those as rootstock. The Hayes video ClarkinKS linked showed it very well. You might dig a bit around the clump of sprouts and see what you see. If a couple of them pull off readily you're on your way.

You might do worse than buying the unmarked tree, but you have no idea what the rootstock is and I doubt anybody there would be able to tell you. Worth a try though, and it wouldn't cost very much to try.

You might also try parking a few of your scions on the Bramley. If you do, try to graft to a branch higher up in the tree, and place your graft close to the trunk. You can, in fact, graft to pencils on the Bramley and those grafts could eventually bear, but if you want to seriously top work the Bramley, or part of it, over to Redstreak you'd be removing scaffolds and grafting to the stubs.

So many options! Good luck and have fun.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:40AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

What marknmt said is good advice for parking the scion.

One problem with grafting to the suckers is that if you decide later on to remove the large tree you may damage the newly grafted trees. It's very difficult to remove a tree without damaging the suckers in the process. If, however, you have safely saved scion by parking it on the Bramley you won't fret so much.

You have a valuable resource in the roots of the established tree. If you do remove the tree the roots will most likely put out lots of new suckers that you could graft to. Don't bother with buying a new tree.

All this being said, your tree might be quite salvageable, but we won't be able to tell unless you post a few more pictures. Please post more pictures of the whole tree from different angles. From what you have posted so far the tree looks fine.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:53AM
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hi, just been outside and took some more pics as promised. please no shouting at me for any bad things ive done wrong as im only just learning about this,lol...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:37AM
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and another one

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:39AM
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last one

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:40AM
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I hope you start a new thread along the lines of "rejuvenating old apple tree" and that some of the expert pruners offer comments.

But my 2 cents-worth (I guess for you that would be "tuppence?") is that your tree is a long ways from dying and you have a good shot at keeping it going for years. I'm just not very good at figuring out how. That's why I hope you get a new thread going and stir interest from a different direction. I need the information!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:53PM
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