This old apple tree was chopped back to stubs something around ten years ago, and then let grow out. When I came to her, she was so dense you couldn’t see through her, but gorgeous and perfect in shape. Still, only her outside apples were sweet, so we decided to bring her back to a shape that fit with human bodies, as well as her own. The first step was to purify her shape. That’s what you see below. I took out about 40% of the branches, very carefully, so the tree’s balance and dominance remained and every root had leading buds, in perfectly balanced dominance, to work with them to feed the tree.
What exciting work! Next year she will have apples (it’s an off year, due to her 100% cropping last year) again, and I can work to simplify the structure a little more, using that hormonal load as her contribution.She should come through the year with equal growth all around, initiating a new cycle of wood for annual, rather than biannual, bearing. The plan, of course, is to leave some apple way up there for the birds, too, and to have branches strong enough for the bear, when she comes by on her way to the river. In five years, our work together, tree and bear and birds and I, should be complete, and there will be sweet red apples throughout the tree every year, all within reach of whoever needs them most. Food sustainability for all, every year, that’s the way!