GROWING COLUMN APPLE TREES + REVIEW OF BEST VARIETIES
In every garden, even the smallest, there is a place for several varieties of columnar apple. It differs from the usual low growth and a very modest crown habit. Fruiting is focused on short shoots growing on the central trunk. Slender baby “columns” are very productive, their productivity is not inferior to the “big” apple trees. They are beautiful, especially during flowering, and if desired, they can be planted in a row on the border of the site and grow a lovely hedge.
How it all began…
A distinctive feature of the columnar apple trees - thickened shoots with short internodes. Thanks to this feature, the leaves grow very densely and the trees look very colorful. On shoots a lot of shortened lateral fruitful ramifications form. The shoots themselves depart from the central conductor at an acute angle, forming a compact crown. Such a compact "format" of plants allows you to build compacted high-yielding gardens of intensive type.
The first columnar apple trees appeared in the middle of the 20th century. in Canada by natural mutation and subsequent selection. It happened in 1960, when Canadian gardener by the name of Vazhak discovered a branch with an unusual structure of shoots on the apple tree of Mekintosh variety. It became the basis for the fundamentally new variety Mekintosh Vazhak, and it, in turn, was used to develop many apple hybrids.
The find aroused great interest among breeders. The first serious studies of columnar signs in apple trees were conducted by scientists at the East Molling Horticultural Institute (UK). Breeding was carried out in several directions at once: it was necessary to improve the taste of the fruit (Mekintosh Vazhak was inferior in this indicator to the original Mekintosh variety), to increase resistance to diseases, to suppress the power of growth. Interestingly, the signs of the columnar species were transmitted during traditional vegetative propagation, but disappeared when trying to propagate the columns using modern tissue culture technology.
The breeders from East Molling have created a group of partially self-fruited varieties whose trees form elegant crowns, resembling ballet dancers (the group is called “Ballerina”). These varieties are more suitable for use in ornamental horticulture than in fruit, but some of them still produce fruits with good taste. Many varieties obtained at the East Molling Institute have been successfully grown to produce crops (Trident, Telimon, Bolero, Charlotte, Flamenco, Polka and others). Moreover, the Trident and Telaymon varieties were tested in compacted plantings to determine the potential of an intensive garden. The resulting crop - 400 ts1ga - in 10 times exceeded the performance of tall plantations with the same area.
For growing varieties from the Ballerina group, they use the stocks М26 and ММ106, the trees do not require supports on them, in the fifth year of life they reach 2,5 m in height. It should be noted that the various forms of columnar apple trees differ markedly in their growth power. For example, the ten-year KV-2 trees on the stock MM1 OB reach 4,2 m in height, and the CV-46 - 70 see
Over time, the selection of columnar apple varieties engaged in other countries. In Russia, received a group of varieties labeled HF. The most popular varieties of this group are Gin (KV-5) and Arbat (KV-43), Barguzin, Currency. In Ukraine, the Varieties Dancer, Sparta, Vertical, Antey, Ruslan, Annushka bred.
LANDING AND MAINTENANCE OF COLUMN APPLES
Column-shaped apple trees are very compact compared to other fruit crops, therefore they enjoy deserved popularity and love among gardeners, especially among owners of modest homestead and summer cottages. Occupying a small area in the garden, they give an excellent harvest.
In order to successfully grow columnar apple trees, it is necessary to provide them with thorough care. Begin by following certain rules when landing.
Only one-year-old trees are planted on a permanent place (more adults can get sick from stress). They easily tolerate the suppression of life processes after digging and are well established and restored if they are provided with favorable conditions. Column-shaped apple trees can not stand the lack of moisture. It is very important to ensure that open roots do not dry out when transporting plants. Immediately after planting, land in the near-stem circle is watered abundantly and then kept moist by adding water as it dries. If the soil is dry, the root system of the plant will die.
Put the columns rather tightly, according to the scheme from 0,4 to 0,7 m in a row. Dig pits are small, fertilize only with organic matter (it is undesirable to introduce mineral fertilizers). After planting, the trees are fed three times per season with urea - the first dressing is carried out immediately after the leaves bloom, then two more every two weeks. In the spring and summer they also add organic matter (chicken manure).
Columns are more frost-resistant than ordinary apple trees., but they also need protection from spring and autumn frosts and winter cold. It is desirable to shelter them for the winter. Shelters can be constructed from scrap materials, as long as they are dry. A great way to insulate trees is by hilling with snow. Make sure that the mouse does not get into the shelter. In general, it is necessary to pay special attention to the fight against rodents, because hares love to feast on the columns and gnaw heavily on thin stumps, as a result, those damaged trees are no longer restored.
Column-shaped apple trees require treatments for pests and diseases.
In order to timely detect the symptoms of diseases or lesions by harmful organisms, trees are constantly inspected, paying special attention to the condition of the leaves. At the first signs of infection, spray the corresponding fungicides and insecticides. The system of prevention and protection is no different from that used on ordinary tall apple trees.
It is advisable to cultivate immune and highly resistant to scab and powdery mildew varieties that can be treated with biological preparations. Only in this case, you get healthy and environmentally friendly fruits.
COLOR SPECIES APPLE TREES FOR GROWING
Varieties of columns differ in terms of ripening and characteristics of the fruit. In the collection of our scientific institution (Experimental Station of Pomology named after L.P. Simirenko) there are more than 50 samples of columnar apple trees of foreign and domestic selection.
Bolero - autumn variety. The trees are vigorous with a columnar crown up to 50 cm in diameter, which is formed by numerous wheellets, fruit trees, spears and fruit twigs growing along the entire length of the trunk. The flowering is early and long-term, on srednerosly rootstocks begins in the second year after planting. The best pollinator varieties: Arbat, Antey Kiev, Telamon.
The yield of plants on the 54-118 stock at the age of four to six years is 6,5-7,0 kg per tree, from eight to nine years old - 8-13 kg.
Fruits of medium size and large, weight 160-180 g, one-dimensional, flat-rounded, slightly asymmetric. The peel is yellowish-green with large pale subcutaneous points, light, smooth, shiny, oily, medium density. The flesh is creamy, fine-grained, tender, juicy, sour-sweet.
Trident - winter variety. Trees are weak-growing, with a columnar crown of numerous short branches, extending from the trunk at an acute angle and densely covered with spears and pillows. Blossom is very intense. Column-like pollinator varieties: Arbat, Bolero, Vertical. Ordinary varieties of apple trees are also suitable for pollination. On the middle stock, the 54-118 stock comes into fruition in the second year after planting (the first crop is 0,5-1,0 kg from a tree). Fruiting in a variety of regular, in some years, excessive. The yield of trees at four years of age is 1,5-4,0 kg, in a ten-year -5,5-13,0 kg.
Fruits of medium size, mass 120-145 g, one-dimensional, rounded conical shape. The skin is dense, smooth, shiny, light, greenish-yellow with a rich dark red blurred blush, numerous pink subcutaneous spots and bluish bloom. The flesh is yellowish-cream, fine-grained, tender, juicy, sour-sweet.
Telamon - autumn variety. Trees sredneroslye, compact half-dwarf with columnar crown, which is formed by a lance and a fruit. Blossom is very abundant. Come into fruiting in the fourth or fifth year after planting, in the middle rootstock - in the third year. Fruiting regular. The yield of trees at the age of six is 5-6 kg, in ten years - 8-11 kg.
Fruits of medium size, mass 110-140 g, flat-rounded conical shape. The skin is thick, bleached, dry, light yellow, with a rich red-burgundy blurred blush, against the background of which numerous small white subcutaneous spots are clearly visible. The flesh is light cream with pinkish streaks, medium density, fine-grained, tender, juicy, sour-sweet.
Arbat (KV-43) - Late summer variety, ripens in late August - early September.
Fruits are medium in size, the mass of 100-120 g is rounded, the skin is dark cherry and there are pink blotches even in the flesh. Taste is sweet. Lack of fruits - a short period of storage. After harvesting, the apples stay fresh for only a week, and then swell from the inside.
President - Late summer variety, ripens in August. Frost-resistant, resistant to diseases and pests. Very productive, already the next year after planting, the yield reaches 10 kg per plant. Trees are medium thick, compact half-dwarfs.
Fruits are medium in size and large, mass 150-200 g. The skin is light yellow with a faint pink blush. The flesh is fine-grained, juicy, tender.
Nectar - summer variety, ripens in late July - early August. Frost-resistant, resistant to diseases and pests. Very productive. The trees are medium tall, half-dwarfed, reaching 2-2,5 m in height.
Fruits are large, weight 200 g, rounded, yellow-white skin, dense. The pulp is granular, juicy, “honey” in taste.
Ostankino - autumn variety, ripens in late September - early October. Fruits after harvesting are stored until March. Moderately frost-resistant, resistant to diseases and pests. Skoroplodny, productive, the harvest in the conditions of high agrotechnology makes 16 kg from one plant. The trees are semi-dwarfed, very leafy.
Fruits are large, mass ZOO g, rounded flat shape, the skin is bright red, shiny. The flesh is fine-grained, delicate texture, very juicy, fragrant, sweet.
Vasyugan - autumn variety, ripens in mid-September. Frost-resistant, resistant to diseases and pests. Skoroplodny, productive, productivity at high agrotechnology - 10 kg from one plant. Trees reach 3 m tall.
Fruits of medium size and large, the mass of 150-200 g, elongated, the skin is red-striped, thin. The pulp is dense, aromatic, sweet-sour.
Moscow necklace - winter variety, ripens in December. Self-barren, needs pollinator varieties. Highly productive, it is necessary to rationalize the harvest. Frost-resistant, resistant to scab. Trees reach 2 m tall.
Fruits are large, the mass of 170 g, rounded, the skin is dark red, dense. The flesh is very juicy, with a pleasant aroma, sweet and sour.
Currency - winter variety, ripens in October, immune to scab, moderately winter-hardy. Trees are small, half-dwarfs or even dwarfs.
Skoroplodny. Productivity in the conditions of high agrotechnology - 10-12 kg from a tree.
Fruits of medium size, mass 150 g, rounded flattened shape, golden skin with a delicate red blush, thin, but dense. Dessert pulp taste.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF "COLUMNS"
The main advantage of these varieties of apple trees - high yield with extraordinary compactness of trees. Columns take up very little space in the garden. Since they are highly decorative, it is not necessary for them to allocate a separate place, it is better to land in a row along a fence or garden paths.
The fruits of the first varieties of columnar apple trees differed from the classic apples for the worse - they were rather small, hard, fresh or sour. But as a result of the hard work of breeders in recent decades, modern varieties of columns have appeared, with excellent, large, tasty and juicy fruits.
It is easy to care for the columns, the harvest from low trees can be collected without ladders, because the fruits are within arm's length and everything is visible. This favorably distinguishes the columnar apple trees from the ordinary ones, in which most of the FRANTS are located high, in a dense crown. Since they are difficult to reach, they overripe and fall to the ground.
Column-shaped apple trees are resistant to diseases and pests, cold-resistant. However, in order for them to serve longer and maintain high productivity, it is important to choose the right stock. Effective srednerosly stock 54-118, but it is mainly implanted graft varieties. For the vigorous, dwarf or hemipicharic rootstocks are used (in this case watering is obligatory).
The lack of a columnar apple is one - they need constant thorough care, watering and dressing. Moreover, all agrotechnical operations should be carried out correctly and on time, otherwise there is a risk of losing not only the harvest, but also the trees themselves.
Before laying the column-like garden, weigh the pros and cons. These apple trees need attention. But if you comply with the conditions necessary for the development and fruiting of the columns, they will thank you with excellent fruits.
The columns are very productive. Often, young trees begin to bloom in the first spring, immediately after planting in a permanent place. Flowering causes them extra stress. In addition, during this period, nutrients should be spent only on rooting and growth processes, and not on the formation and development of fruits. Therefore, immediately after flowering the entire ovary must be cut off.
By the way, from one young tree one can get more than 5 kg of fruits, depending on the variety. Despite the apparent fragility, the columnar apple trees have a strong shtamb able to withstand more than 12 kg of fruit.
The weakest point of the columnar apple trees is the apical bud. She gives one powerful central escape, the very "column". However, this kidney is easily damaged (for example, it freezes over in winter, mice and rabbits can gnaw it, and so on) and then instead of a single shoot, a whole bunch of shoots appear from it.
If the shoots are left to themselves, the tree will have a “multi-level” crown. But traditionally, in this case, one shoot is left, the strongest and strongest, as well as a pair of sides at the base (for replacement, if the need arises), and the rest are cut. A year later, the procedure is repeated, cutting off spare shoots and excess shoots. In the spring, with the forming pruning, all developed vertically directed branches with a length of 30-35 cm are cut or shortened to the required size.
COLUMN APPLE CUTTER - VIDEO
© Author: Varvara VOLOSHINA, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences, Vladimir GOMENYUK, Andrey VOLOSHIN,