Farm, Garden and The Land > Permaculture, Land Management and Foraging

Reviving an old orchard.


Looking for information on reviving an old orchard. I purchased an old farmstead (10 acres) last May and with it came the family orchard. There are 5 Apple and 2 pear trees in the orchard area and they appear to be between 40 to 60 years old. None are more than 25 feet tall but there is a lot of limb die off and overgrowth on all the limbs. Last summer there was a lot of fruit but a lot of it was misshapen and had what looked like rust spots. The huge swarm of Japanese beetles didn't help. I want to revive this orchard and bring it back under control. I really think that for the last 10 years that nobody paid these trees any attention at all. Any suggestions? I know that I need to trim all the non producing waterspouts. Should I cut back the branches and limbs and how much. How many should I do this winter and what should I do next spring and next winter. I really love the idea of walking 20 feet away from the house and pulling an apple. Thanks in advance.

Start with a soil test, and get yourself a book on pruning.  Make sure you either learn to prune, or call a professional, before you start lopping off branches.  I visit dozens of landowners every year who kill fruit trees with over-zealous pruning and fertilizer.  Take your time with your trees and they should do just fine.

The way I learned to trim was - look for the bud where you want the new branch to grow - then cut the rest of the limb off. Old apple trees can get cut back to 50% for starters - but be sure to cut in winter and cover the cut.

And learn to graft - it's easy...
look up apple graft and cleft graft on google...
here's some picts from my grafting day yesterday...
ok sorry - i don;t think it allows me to put images in...


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