Thursday, July 14

Geriatric apples

I've mentioned earlier that the redcurrants that give us such a great crop were inherited when we took over this bit of our plot - well we also inherited four apple trees.
Originally they had been planted as cordons but during the time that they’d been left to fend for themselves, amongst weeds as high as they were, they’d had other ideas.

When we rescued them they were in a sorry state. Some of the wires up which they had been trained had cut into the trunks and the only alternative was to cut the wires and leave them embedded.
The trees were also badly affected with canker leaving branches and trunks very gnarled and distorted.

I suppose advice would have been to chop them down, maybe it still would be if we were to ask an expert, but we didn't.

A severe pruning was inflicted on them to bring them back under control and then it was a case of waiting to see what would happen.

The cankerous lesions are havens for woolly aphid so in our shed we have a special tool for dealing with these pests. Whenever I spot a clump out comes an old toothbrush and I go into battle mode, scrubbing off as many as I can manage. 
Effort to protect the trees from as many pests as we can is well worth the effort as they thank us by providing us with a good crop of what may not be the best looking apples in the world but then again it’s not always the best looking that is the tastiest. Not only do we get to eat apples straight from the tree but we also have a plentiful supply to stew and freeze for use later.
Each year the trees still make a bid to revert back to their semi-wild state and need some serious pruning and no doubt at some point these trees will cease production so we have planted new young trees to take over but in the meantime the geriatric apples will stay.
To read more about our efforts to protect our apple trees from the pests that plague them click here

For a quick peek at how the apple trees in the garden are faring click here. These are also old cordons that have decided to throw off their shackles and become trees despite being cut down to the ground a few years ago. Such was the trees determination to grow!

We no longer have to wait for one young fruit tree has produced its crop although not a prolifically as last year!
These cherries - Summer Sun - were not fully ripe here when we picked them but, off the tree, they ripen well to a dark red and are now just perfect for eating! The blackbirds could only look on enviously! 


  1. Glad to see you've finally harvested some cherries. I've draped some netting over my tree, it seemed to have worked until the last couple of days when I saw a very cheeky blackbird standing on the floor below the tree and then flying up underneath the netting and helping herself. They soon get wise and work how what they need to do to get what they want. I'll have to tie the netting on next year rather than just draping it. I don't have any apple trees but our next door neighbours have a few trees in their garden. They gave us some cookers last year, which was very nice of them, I made some apple pies. What a good idea to start some more trees growing now for when the established ones give up producing.

  2. Wow, that seems quite a bit of work but all your efforts look to be be paying off. Growing fruit is something that always seems difficult to me.

  3. That is a great apple harvest...I'm not really sure what 'cordons' are so i am hoping you will fill me in on this bit of information...i am hoping in a few years I too will have lovely apple harvests such as this!!

    And maybe cherries if I ever get around to replacing the tree!!

  4. I try and make sure that there is no way to get up under the cherry Jo although last year we found a huge dragonfly caught under the net. We filmed it and set it free.

    Growing most types of fruit isn't that difficult. Kelli Bush fruit is quite easy. AS for apples - the ones in the garden get left to their own devises and do fairly well

    Cordon apples are where the trees are planted against a framework, Tanya. They are planted so the trunks are at a 45 degree angle like this

  5. I wish I had a geriatric apple tree! It would probably be a lot better than my adolescent one, which is behaving like a sulky (and spotty) teenager.

  6. I wouldn't mind having some geriatric apple trees either. They definitely look good!

    Thansk for explaning cordon apples. I had no idea what they were.

  7. Our other trees are still at the stage where they are developing their own characters, Mark and some are obviously brighter than others.

    Like some geriatrics, Robin from a distance they look better than when you are close up and can see the wrinkles.

  8. Wowser, thats a LOT of apples! We get a pretty decent load off our single cooking apple tree but that many is very impressive! What do you end up doing with all of them? Do they keep ok?

  9. I think how sick fruit trees look, there is always hope and a way to nurture them back to their glory state. Glad that you decided to prune and keep them. What marvellous apples did those trees reward you back. Oh Sue I always dream of having my own apple tree. I am going to dream about apple tree today. You always have many fruit harvest. I just transplanted some alpine strawberry roots and self-sowed seeds last week. Alpine usually very reliable here, they give you fruit all year long! Although it is not much. But pick fresh and straight into the mouth is the best moment in the garden. My youngest Rayyan has not been patient, he keep on picking the half-ripe ones.

  10. Mmm, cherries - now that is something I would love to grow... I admire your persistence in caring for your apple trees, I don't think I would have the patience.

  11. That's only some of the apples harvested P&M. They keep for a few months but we stew and freeze lots too.

    We pick alpines for a long period too Diana but not all year round. They are doing really well this year. Not many from each plant but we do have loads of plants.

    Mmm I love cherries, Janet so I hope that the tree will gradually produce more. No forget the gradually I am hoping for more next year!!

  12. We have two mature cherry trees but unprotected the birds get to everything so we've never had any fruit. Is the only way to protect them by netting? Not very practical as they are quite big trees. But on seeing your photo I'd love to pick my own cherries!

  13. I think it is Damo, even protected the blackbirds don't give up searching for a way to get to the cherries and you can't really blame them. Can you protect the lower branches with netting in some way? We drape net over the top making sure there is no access point under the netting as if there is they will find it.

  14. my fruit trees are driving me crazy, all 4 of my cherry trees either dont produce anything or the cherries shrivel up and drop off, what ever is left split!
    my plum trees hardly have any plums on either, all my trees are over 5 yrs now, are they still too young to expect too much yet?

  15. Hi Liz,
    Our cherry tree was planted in 2007 and we had a few cherries in 2009, then quite a lot (for the size of the tree) last year - 2010 - too. Some varieties of cherry are more prone to splitting which is usually as a result of erratic watering. For instance heavy rain after very dry weather. Poor pollination can cause fruit to shrivel and drop off but it can also be over watering or too much feeding.

    Our gages were planted in 2004 and I mentioned picking fruit in the first year I kept my website in 2007. The plums are quite large trees - I can't remember how old they are. Both plums and gages tend to have a bumper years followed by a leaner year.

  16. How wonderful! Those apples look so happy and I'm sure they are very grateful to you for the love and care.

  17. I like that Mrs Bok happy apples!

  18. Am envious of your cherry crop - mine produced 4 cherries this year and out of that batch, three were devoured by ants! What do you feed your cherry tree?

  19. We were disappointed that we didn't have more, DSG. We just gave it some fish, blood and bone meal in spring.

    It's only a small tree. There's a photo taken last year on this post

  20. That's handful of harvest! So fresh and juicy!
    Very tough job but nice rewards!

  21. Can you tell that we love our fruit Malar?

  22. We bought our tiny hous two years ago, and were delighted by the geriatric fruit trees. We've been trying to improve their health, and have been rewarded with beautiful harvests. We have a huge Santa Rosa plum, a Meyer lemon, and a Fuyu persimmon. We've got all sorts of baby fruit trees in pots.

    I wonder if we have room for an apple tree?

  23. Hi Lisa and Robb - A lemon tree I AM envious


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