Gardening - Fruit: Maintenance
When trees have not been properly pruned and trained, fruit yields and quality may decline. As trees grow taller and more dense, lower limbs and interior limbs lose their ability to produce quality fruit, due to increased shading. Many of these weakened limbs will die. Over time, most fruit will be produced in the outer periphery of the tree, primarily in the top, as this is the only area exposed to adequate sunlight.
These trees often can be pruned back and restored to a point where quality fruit may be obtained once again. It may require several years to restore a tree to a manageable size. If the tree has been severely neglected for several years, it may not be possible to recapture its full productive potential.
"SP307-K-Pruning Neglected Fruit Trees," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, SP307K-2.5M-11/06 (Rep) E12-5115-00-009-07 07-0098, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexgard/7