Columnar apple trees: secrets of a good harvest
SECRETS OF GROWING COLUMN APPLE
- Compact and high planting density - these apple trees are ideal for small areas.
- Early maturity.
- High productivity: 6-12 kg per apple tree.
- Easy to care for the tree (including treating pests and diseases, pruning, harvesting).
- The tree is small and can be completely covered for the winter.
The main advantage of columnar apple trees is their compactness (the height of an adult tree is about 2 m, width is no more than 5 m). For my small plot, these plants have become a godsend, since they can be planted every 0-5 cm in a row with row spacings 30-40, 1 m wide.
True, on the forums, summer residents complain that they do not get the proper return from the “columns” in terms of harvest. I collect at least 10 kg from a tree. But this is on condition, if you provide the plants with proper care.
You can plant young apple-trees-columns both in spring and in autumn. Choose an area that is well lit all day. The emphasis should be placed on the planting material - it is better to take one-year-olds: unlike two-year-olds, they take root well and give good growth in the very first year of the growing season. The height of the seedling must be at least 50 cm (depending on the growth vigor of the variety).
Trees begin to bear fruit early, in the 2-3rd year. I even bloomed in the first year after planting. But I removed all the buds, since the plants had not yet matured.
A balanced diet is important. After budding on young leaves, I do 2 nitrogen dressings (with an interval of 10-14 days): 0 tsp. urea per 5 liters of water. In early May (once every 10 weeks) I plan two root dressings, that is, watering: 2-2 kg of manure and 3-15 g of urea per 20 liters of water (10 liter for a plant).
To help the apple trees prepare for winter, I use phosphate-potassium fertilizers. In September, I dilute 10 tbsp in 1 liters of water. potassium chloride and 2 tbsp. granular double superphosphate. If there is ash, I also pour it into the trunk circle — 200-300 g per tree (I slightly cover it up for loosening).
Columnar apple trees have a superficial root system. They cannot extract moisture from deep soil layers. Therefore, until the middle of summer, additional watering is required — 1 - 2 times a week.
Adult "columns" of winter-hardy varieties are not afraid of frost. But the seedlings can freeze. Therefore, they insulate not only the near-trunk circle (I cover it with a thick layer of humus), but also the crown - I wrap it with agrofibre. From hares and mice, I put spruce branches around the stems.
© Author: Irina KUCHUK, Sverdlovsk region.
See also: Column-shaped apple trees - for small plots and gardens
APPLE-COLUMN PRUNING: NEEDED OR NOT?
Some gardeners believe that the "pillars" do not produce side branches and they do not need pruning. It's a delusion! Plants of almost all varieties have them, only some have 1-2, while others have 20-30.
Shoots of columnar apple trees grow at an acute angle from the trunk along it. Therefore, the "column" without shaping resembles a pyramidal poplar. The trunk of such an apple tree is thickened and covered with small overgrowing twigs, at the ends of which flower buds are formed. Shoots are thick, with shortened internodes. Each gardener must decide whether to form a tree in a strict column or not to touch it at all.
If you decide to cut it, you will have to remove small annual shoots, leaving 2-3 buds at the base of each. Vigorously growing side branches in the middle of summer can be pinched 5-10 cm.
Then the food will go not for growth shoots, but for fruits and leaves.
Correctly planted annual apple-trees-columns during the first year of growing season should give an increase of 30-40 cm. A powerful developed thickened shoot grows from the apical bud. On the lower part of the seedling, several leaves develop from each bud. Here flower buds are formed for next year's harvest. With proper care, for the 2-3rd year of life, the columnar-vydki should have an annual increase of 40-50 cm.At this time, one should pay attention to the ability of the apical bud of the trunk to ripen in time in the fall and then develop normally in the spring. If a continuation shoot has grown from it, it means that the life processes of the tree are proceeding normally.
HOW MANY STRAWS TO LEAVE WHEN CUTTING THE COLUMN APPLE?
Sometimes gardeners leave not one, but two or three trunks at the apple-tree column. But in this case, a columnar tree in 5-6 years will have the form of a compact dwarf plant with a small (no more than 1 m) crown.
Reference by topic: The secret to growing columnar trees. Formation and care
CROWNING COLUMN APPLE - VIDEO
© Author: Tamara GRUSHEVA, scientific. sotr. Institute of Fruit Growing of the Republic of Belarus
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2 Review (s)
My parents complain that they had practically no apples this year, although the trees are young. The father writes off the frequency of fruiting - they say, last season there was a bountiful harvest, and this year the plants were resting. Is it really so?
- The lack of this year's harvest is the influence of exclusively weather conditions. Severe frosts and winds in January, a thaw in February, and then a cold spring - all this led to freezing of flower buds of fruit trees, which affected their harvest.
As for the frequency of fruiting, this phenomenon is more typical for trees of old varieties (for example, Antonovka, Bely naliv, Borovinka, Streyfling, Sinap), of which there are not so many left on personal plots. In modern gardens, annual fruiting will be ensured by timely pruning, feeding, and protective measures. I’ll even say more: if a stalk of an old variety is grafted onto a good clonal stock in April, and then the tree is cut off every year, the harvest is normalized (remove excess flowers), then even Antonovka's fruiting frequency is smoothed out. You will receive a harvest annually, only in one year there will be a lot of fruits, and in another - less.
It must be understood that the reason for the periodicity is in the overload of the plant and its depletion. When a tree lays a huge number of flower buds, they all bloom and set a crop, and as a result, the tree simply does not have the strength to lay new flower buds for next year. Therefore, it rests in the next season. When you regularly prune your garden, remove branches with extra flower buds, the plant does not deplete itself and produces a harvest every year, and of good quality.
Julia KONDRATENOK, Cand. agricultural sciences