Pruning a neglected apple tree

I recently moved into a new house with what I believe is an apple tree. It looks like the two major trunks were cut back at 7 foot a few years ago, but since then a number of major branches have started from there and shot straight up an additional 10 or more feet. I am reluctant to cut them off because they are now a big part of the tree, but I certainly will not be climbing that high to get the fruit!
I also don't want to get too radical in case I misidentified the tree...
Brian snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
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Hi Brian, I would not invest a lot of time until you get some fruit off this tree. It's possibly an apple which you won't like. If height is a problem for you, best to pull out what sounds like a full size tree, and replace it with a dwarf, or at least a semi-dwarf tree. What you now have is a tree with a large root structure that is trying to balance itself by putting out abundant above ground growth.
Sherwin D.
Brian wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Brian) wrote in message
While I mostly agree with Sherwin, in case you end up liking the apples from the tree, there are tools to harvest tall trees. Basically a very long pole with a mechanical hand at the top. Also, if they shot straight up, this thing could be a pear tree.
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (simy1) wrote in message

Well, I don't like pears, anyways...
I might just cut the branches going straight up and hope that the lateral branches strengthen rather than new straight up branches sprouting. I guess I will not do much beyond that yet...
Brian
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I've been told that you aren't supposed to remove more than 1/3 of the tree per year during pruning. Take some of the uprights, dead wood, and the ones growing down. In addition, branches that if left alone, will rub on another branch that you want to keep, remove or cut back.
Dwayne

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Here is a link to an excellent step by step method to restore old apple trees. Good luck Dan
http://eesc.orst.edu/agcomwebfile/edmat/html/ec/ec1005/ec1005.html
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The kinds of growth that shoot straight up from a branch below are commonly called waterspouts. They result when a tree is trying to put out growth very quickly. This can occur if one overdoes the spring pruning, or in the case in question, a major cut down occurred. A tree like this with a very large root structure cannot easily be shortened by pruning. It is trying it's hardest to balance the top growth, as I mentioned before. I think Brian has the right idea to prune off the waterspouts, and try and develop the outgrowing branches. By the way, waterspouts are not peculiar to pear trees, you get them on apple and stone fruit trees, as well.
Sherwin D.
simy1 wrote:

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I asked a similar question in an email list. I got a reply from someone who resurrected some old neglected trees over a span of three years.
Essentially, you start by knocking off all the branches that go straight up or straight down. Also, keep the new growth that goes straight up pruned off.
Send email to ray drou at quixnet dot net and I'll see if I can get permission to forward it to you.
Ray Drouillard
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