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I have an apple tree that is developing a lot of branches close together after it lost half its height due to a deer attack. As the tree grows taller again, will the new branches eventually grow with more space between them?

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    Would you have some pictures of that tree we could look at? Current ones will help, but if you have any from before the damage, that would be great too! – Sue May 16 '16 at 17:50
  • Hi. I was a little bit confused by this question, so I edited it to seem more clear to me. It could easily have been my fault for not reading it correctly, so if I misunderstood, or changed the meaning, I apologize and hope you'll reject the edit! Thanks! – Sue May 16 '16 at 18:08
  • that was the same question as mine with a little more detail, thanks – black thumb May 16 '16 at 21:07
  • Think of the thickness of a landscaping bush about 3 feet off the ground – black thumb May 16 '16 at 21:18
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No, they will not.

Trees get taller by the extension of growth at the branch tips. The trunk and branches will get thicker, but they do not move. If you have a tree with a branch 4 feet from the ground, say, the center line of that branch will forever be 4 feet from the ground. In time it will become thicker, but it does not move.

The knot of branches you have now will rapidly turn into a big ugly knob. As each branch gets thicker they will fuse together making this knob bigger. You can, of course, prune the ends to steer their future growth into whatever directions you might wish, but this won't change where they now join the tree. So, if you do nothing, a big ugly knob with a spray of branches emerging from it will become the prominent feature of your tree.

You need to choose two or three branches you want to keep and selectively remove all the others. If you do this immediately, the tree will likely grow into the attractive tree you want and you won't be able to tell this ever happened. The longer you delay the more difficult it will be to accomplish and the less likely it becomes that the result will be pleasing.

  • I think I'll just leave it as is then, since it's going to be a nice climbing arm for when it gets huge. and 2 other branches are going to be growing together for another place to grab onto also because I was trying to point it upward, and forgot about moving it back later in the year. – black thumb May 17 '16 at 5:17
  • how do I make branches emerging? – black thumb May 17 '16 at 16:04
  • Do you mean you want more branches? There are only two ways: get a bud at the place you want a new branch or graft a branch to that place. Sometimes in spring new buds will appear where you want them - protect it and over time it will become another branch. Otherwise you must prune after the tree is leafed out. Usually the buds closest to the cut will become new shoots/branches, but sometimes more. Grafting is the other way; while it can be challenging you can (in principle) put the branch right where you want it. This is how they make those trees that have 5 or 6 different apple varieties. – Jim Young May 17 '16 at 16:49

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