I have some old and very large apple trees, 15 to 20 metres in height. Is it possible to prune these down to a manageable height? It would probably mean cutting large branches and even the upper trunk back to bare timber, with no growth point. Would shoots grow from cuts like this? And what about the fact that I would be removing over half of the crown? Shold I do it over a couple of years?
Remove all dead, damaged and crossing branches and shorten some old branches each winter over 3 winters, or early spring.
Begin feeding with potash in spring, 70g/square metre to toughen the new growth and spray if possible with Roseclear.
You can cut down the tops more radically but it can cause a burst of new growth and the trees may take longer to come back to cropping.