This year I purchased a young "family" apple tree, with three varieties of apple grafted onto a single plant. It was planted in March and has flowered happily and is producing fruit. I staked it when it was planted and the main branch is loosely attached to the stake to minimise movement due to wind (which is low anyway due to a narrow garden with fences on both sides and the predominant wind direction being across the narrow dimension of the garden).
I came out this morning to find that one of the branches bearing apples had snapped and was hanging down to the floor. The branch is bearing the most fruit of any on the tree - 9 fruits in total - and is approximately 8mm in diameter.
- Can I save this branch, and if so how?
- What should I do to avoid this in future? Do I need to brace the individual branches, thin the fruit (if so, how do I judge how many to keep) or something else?