When we bought our land in 2001, there were very few trees on it. A small clump of oaks, a large fir and 2 very old apple trees that had been neglected for many years. They were sickly with battered bark and few branches, the small apples they produced were dry and mealy.
Recognizing their age commanded deep respect from us and we lovingly started calling them the Grandmothers. We threw energetic love at them and physical love in the form of fertilizer and pruning. Slowly, over the next 3 years or so, their bark started to heal and glow with health. The branches strengthened and put on new growth, the apples that fell to the ground were still small, but round and juicy.
A few years later I put 6 rabbit hutches under the shade they were now producing, and the rabbit manure/urine/hair that collected under the hutches offered more nurturing to the grandmothers and they, in turn, grew even healthier and stronger, putting on larger amounts of shade from the strong new growth .
Every year they drop hundreds of small, juicy apples to the ground for us. We collect their blessed offerings in 5 gallon buckets and feed them to goats, rabbits and pigs that jump for joy when they see them coming.
Respecting your elders is always a good idea.