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I was away for 4 weeks and my apple tree became totally full of blooms!! I had not cut its suckers this year, and the last 2 years they may not have been cut properly.

This is a beautiful Golden Delicious apple tree that is over 20 years old; we moved in here 5 years ago and I normally do not water it. Should I? It has been quite generous in giving us loads of apples except last years when I think we cut the runners late too! What should I do next year?

Shall I leave the suckers alone? The whole tree is full of them, but it is also full of blossoms? How can I help keep it happy?

  • Is it a grafted tree? – Rob Apr 23 at 17:25
  • @Rob: Almost certainly. I don't think there is any way to obtain a non-grafted Golden Delicious (apart from growing a cutting yourself). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 24 at 10:07
  • Do you actually mean "sucker" (shoot growing from the root-stock rather than from the desired variety scion), or do you mean "young shoot""? – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 24 at 10:11
  • I am not used to this site - is this where I reply or comment on the replies? I am going to try it here: I am so sorry about my ignorance! I mean those vertical shoots from the branches! No, they are not suckers. They are what I have cut off in the past. One helper left a few inches on all of them one year and another cut them off where they started, at the branch. They are water sprouts! I just found an article and photo that helped me identify them - I had no luck yesterday. – Neise Turchin Apr 24 at 23:14
  • Welcome Neise Turchin! Thanks for this great question! You're not ignorant at all! Our site's not easy to learn, but it's worth it! We like to keep our questions just about the issue, so we take names out. You don't need to thank us, that's what we're here for! Also, we don't use AllCap letter words. You're doing fine with comments! If something works better in the question, we have you edit it in. Check out our help center, especially How to Ask, and definitely use comments if you have any questions about how to do things! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL May 3 at 23:47
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In general, suckers, waterspouts and the fast growing vertical shoots should always be removed. They are of no benefit to the tree and in most cases are taking up vital nutrients from the intended wood growth on the tree.

  • Err, "water sprouts" perhaps? :-) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 24 at 10:12
  • Yes, I got that... from the little I know and my intuitive sense of plants... but now the tree is Full of them AND Full of flowers sooner than I thought would happen. Shall I still try to cut them without breaking off many of the flowers? – Neise Turchin Apr 24 at 23:17
  • By the way... THANK YOU Rob, for responding. – Neise Turchin Apr 24 at 23:17
  • @NeiseTurchin No problem, yeah go ahead and cut them off. – Rob Apr 25 at 13:58
  • I mostly want to take care of the tree for the long run - I do not mind getting fewer apples. I could not find information online about any possible problems with leaving the tree as it is now and be more attentive next year with the timing, the weather warming up sooner, etc. And prunning at the best time for this very generous tree! – Neise Turchin Apr 26 at 21:37

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