We have five apple trees. One is a baby, a Gravenstein, parked right next to the grandfather Gravenstein tree. The little tree is doing fine but the big one has been leaning towards the sun more and more each year. By the time I noticed, it was too late to pull it back, but it probably would have been a good idea to put a stake in and tie it back anyway, to stop it from getting worse.
And worse it got!
With this early spring and warm summer, everything grew more than usual and the apples grew mostly on the sunny side of the tree, weighing it down even more on the leaning side. One day, I realized that the whole tree could fall down under the weight of so much fruit all on the sunny side. The apples must have watched the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?” When I went out into the backyard, I could have sworn I heard the apples singing “Keep on the sunny side of life.”
I propped up the tree with a 2 x 4 as a desperation measure until the Captain could come home to help save the tree.
The plum tree to the right of the apple tree has a long branch that is also low to the ground. It is so loaded with plums that it lost two branches under the weight.
The photo below shows a Wilmuta, an early cross of Jonagold. They are late apples — hardy, sweet, and juicy. Again, the sheer weight of the apples on this dwarf tree, mostly on the sunny side (apparently they listened to the same song), had branches breaking and the tree trunk leaning.Tying it to the nearby plum tree helped for a while, but as the apples got bigger and heavier, the tree leaned even more. A couple of pieces of wood put in to prop the branches and the trunk have not prevented breakage and the tree is still in need of triage (or is that tree-age?) As soon as the apples are harvested, I’ll call NINE- TREE-TREE. 9-1-1 is only for people, I think.
The other two trees, a Transparent and a MacIntosh, are behaving well. I have certainly been able to have “an apple a day,” but this year, maybe we’re having too much of a good thing.
P.S. A friend just reminded me that I haven’t pruned the trees for a while and that is a major contributor to my problem with the breaking branches. I know she’s right!