Drastic action was in order

A call in mid-September from an old friend demanded a quick response.

Her apple tree of 20 years standing had been blown over by strong winds.

No wonder, it was laden with fruit and top-heavy on a waterlogged clay soil.

As some mature roots were still intact the best option was to leave it on its side, continue picking the fruit and delay any action until leaf-fall in late October.

Weeks later it was in deciduous mode and almost telling us what was required.

The tree had sentimental value so priority was to save it, but it lacked anchorage and remaining roots could not adequately support all the top growth next year. Fairly severe pruning was required – and given. Three stout posts were then driven into the soil at an angle of 45 degrees and secured to the trunk. Backfilling with soil and much treading left a rejuvenated tree that should not budge.

There will be no blossom or apples next year but the tree will live, develop and fruit again when it regains equilibrium. Such drastic action was necessary because of the circumstances but the treatment could equally apply to an old tree you value whose vigour and cropping potential is dwindling.

First remove any diseased or crossing branches then reduce each main stem using a saw if necessary.