Pruning a Gravenstein Apple Tree
Posted: Mar-29-2004 at 9:28am
I have a lovely 7 yr old Gravie that started bearing fruit 3 yrs ago. The problem is, its location. We planted it near a gate and walkway into the backyard, and altho its a semi-dwarf, is really in a good mood this spring! The branches are now almost blocking the gateway, and its a real hazard to have to go thru there w/ the wheelbarrow and such. branches reaching out, about eye-poking level, and after being PAINFULLY whipped in the face last week, I need help.
Its loaded w/ buds right now, about to burst into bloom, and I really hate to prune it and lose the fruits, but I will if I can. Is it too late to prune this beast? I dont want to hurt the tree, but as this tree continues to flourish this summer, the walkway will become inaccessible and it is the only way out of the backyard!
Posted: May-13-2004 at 1:30pm
We dont have a Gravenstein, but we do have 7 other varieties of apples. Gravenstein bear heavily every other year. They should be pruned annually during dormancy. A simple rule of thumb is, anything that grows straight up or crosses another branch has to go. The straight up growths are called water spouts, and take energy away from fruit production. Apples need to be thinned. One apple per cluster--remove the rest, save the largest one and pick off all the others. Apples should be at least two inches apart. I prune our trees so that you can ride the lawn mower under them without knocking off your head, and also prune severe enough so that I can reach the fruit without a ladder--I fell off the ladder last year and Dr said I am too old to be climbing ladders!--the poop! The fruit that is higher, belongs to the birds.
Posted: May-15-2004 at 1:06pm
Did you prune those apples yet? Part of pruning is to shape the tree the way you want. I wouldn't worry about losing a few apples. It beats getting whacked every time you walk by the tree. Dormant pruning is best but I summer prune if I need to for fine tuning the shaping. The branches that are in the way seem to end up getting broken off anyway. Now if you can tell me how to keep the racoons out of my apples . . .
Posted: May-15-2004 at 7:36pm
OK cjmiller....by "straight up" brances, do you mean the tops too? Prune them back how far?
I will wait till dormancy to do this as my heart just wont let me whack away right now. The new growth and all of the apples are gorgeous, and I just cant do it! LOL!
Funny how it was said that the Gravey produces biannually......I get loads of apples every year. I must be lucky!
Posted: May-20-2004 at 3:21pm
Oops forgot to com back read this earlier. Limbs (water spouts) that grow straight up make the arching branches too heavy, they do not bear fruit until following years, and are hard to reach. They need to be cut off where they sprouted from on a scaffold branch. you know, at about 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch from the main branch. Pruning is best done during dormancy, and it is very hard psycologically to even thin much less do pruning now. The problem with waiting to prune is that shaping your tree after it is overgrown takes more than one year as you should not cut more than 1/3 off per year. Yes, I understand now that there are annual bearers and that every other year disappoinment is history.