Apple tree care

poaky1September 25, 2012

My dad purchased 3 Macintosh semi-dwarf trees several years ago. I like oaks and know how to prune them, which is easy, they are pretty much naturally good structured without any pruning, you just make so you can walk underneath etc. He hasn't really payed any attention to the apple trees. I tried to prune them. I opened up the center and cut off alot of the ends of branches to the root collar as with shade trees. He got mad and said not to take all that wood off. He got 3 apples this year. They were not too small or too big. Am I cutting off where the fruit would be next season if I pruned this fall? One of these trees is growing horizontally it leaned and was impossible to fix, it was big and heavy when it leaned. The soil may be too moist where it is and rooted shallowly. It had tiny bug ridden fruit the year before last. I need to know how to care for it because my dad isn't interested in caring for it but wants them there. The wild tree parts are sprouting up, can I let the true form take over and still get apples? It is in an area where size isn't a concern. It will eventually be sort of wild and out of the way from our house but still being mowed and kept free of weeds taking over, with oaks and shade plants, sorry for rambling. Do I need to prune to get med/large apples? I hate grafted trees, they always get wild sprouts, can I just let the natural wild Macintosh take over and get apples to please wildlife, and maybe a few for us? These trees will not be in much shade when the oaks mature, they will have late day shade only.

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Macintosh aren't "wild apples." What you'll get if you let the rootstock sprout is probably some kind of crabapple - totally different at any rate, not Macintosh.

I don't know how much pruning you'll be able to get away with, but you should definitely cut out the sprouts from the rootstock and the watersprouts that clutter the inside of the tree and branches that cross each other - that's what I think you mean by "opening up the center."

Not sure what you mean by cutting off the ends of branches, but that might not be the best thing to do.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 1:41PM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

I agree with ltilton. Cut off any suckers coming out of the rootstock -- do not let those grow -- and continue to keep the center of the tree open and take off vigorous watersprouts that shoot straight up and not outwards. Beyond that, you shouldn't need to prune much. I don't think you'll lose a ton of fruit if you tip some of the branches, but depending on how the tree looks, there's probably no need to tip the branches anyway. Pictures might help.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Did not know that Macintosh was grafted only. I don't know much about fruit trees. I think I can do okay pruning following your directions, I just had the idea that if you prune alot you get bigger fruit, or more fruit.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 7:51PM
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