Old apple orchard ‘blown over’

QuestionsHow to growFruitApplesOld apple orchard ‘blown over’
Olwen Sheil asked 8 years ago

We have an old apple orchard possibly 130 years old. we know the variety of some of the trees but not all. Unfortunately with the recent weather some of the trees have blown over. Would it be possible to salvage some of these varieties, i.e take a cutting and graft to a new rootstock? or is the genetics more complicated than that?

1 Answers

Gerry Daly Staff answered 3 years ago
Old apple trees when the blow over are usually not completely uprooted and can often be successfully pulled upright.

Do this by excavating soil to spade depth or so on the uprooted side, to a sufficient depth to accommodate the uprooted root plate.

When up right the trees can be propped by strong stakes, oak poles or lengths of durable timber, such as red deal, in a rough tripod as stakes alone are unlikely to be able to hold the weight.

If they cannot be righted, and have to be removed, you can try grafting. Cut healthy lengths of young shoots and graft these into the stem of purchased apple trees in early April when the sap is rising.

Preserve the cut shoots in a plastic bag in the fridge, not freezer, in the meantime. You can tie the graft in the young tree stems with string and wrap with 3cm strips of black polythene cut from a black refuse sack.

Put two grafts, each with a sloping cut 5cm below a bud, inserted into a T-shape cut in the bark, into each young tree stem, and tied. When the grafts take, and sprout, cut away the top of the young tree. Keep the young tree in its nursery pot, regularly watered or plant it.