One of the fundamental decisions in apple tree cultivation is selecting the right training system. These systems determine the tree’s shape, growth patterns, and overall efficiency. In this journey through orchard management, we will delve into the intriguing world of different training systems for apple trees. From the classic Central Leader to modern marvels like the Slender Spindle and V/Y-shaped Systems, each system offers a unique approach to optimize apple production.
Different Training Systems of Apple Trees
- Central Leader
- Modified central leader
- Open center
- Vertical axis
- Slender Spindle
- Super Spindle
- Tall Spindle
- Espalier system
- V/Y-shaped Systems
- Tatura trellis in Apple
- Cordon system
Common Training System of Apple Trees followed in Kashmir
In this section we will discuss some commonly found training systems in Kashmir region. These systems are tailored to withstand the region’s distinctive climate, ensuring the production of high-quality apples that grace tables both locally and globally.
Modified Central Leader System
It is also called the multi- leader system. The modified central leader system is much like the central leader, but multiple vertical branches are trained instead of a single, main leader. Each leader is maintained the same as an individual central-leader tree. The system works best with 3 to 5 leaders so the tree is well balanced. It was developed for apple and pear varieties susceptible to canker and fire blight respectively.
With a multi-leader tree, if one leader is infected with disease, it may be removed without loss of the major portion of the tree. Adequate spacing is maintained between branches to allow sufficient light
and air to penetrate through the tree so that fruiting wood is produced and so that insect and disease problems are reduced.
Open Centre System / Open Vase
The open center system is a horticulture system that involves terminating the main stem of a tree and forcing growth through branches that originate near the top of the trunk. This system is also known as the vase system.
Instead of having a central leader, the open-center tree has three to five major limbs, called scaffolds, coming out from the trunk.
This training system allows for adequate light penetration into the tree, which minimizes the shading problem prevalent in higher-vigor trees, such as peach trees.
This system lack strong crotches and provide weak framework that is prone is breakage.
Central Leader System
The central leader system is characterized by the presence of a central leader, which can be either a permanent or temporary. The central leader is the dominant shoot, situated at the centre of the tree. Typically a tree consists of 3 to 4 tires of branches and these branches are scattered throughout the central leader at proper spacings. The bottom tire or first tier of branches is 60 to 90 cm above the ground and has 4 to 5 branches. The second tier of branches is commonly 60 cm to 1 m above the first tier and has 4 branches. The third and fourth tires are spaced about 60-80 cm apart and typically have 3 branches.
Tall Spindle System
This training system is ideal for apple growers in Kashmir region, where majority of apple orchards are on plain land with assured irrigation facilities. Most successful Tall Spindle orchards were established on dwarf rootstocks like M.9 and B.9.
This training system is ideal for apple growers in the Kashmir region, where a majority of apple orchards are on plain land with assured irrigation facilities.
The system is designed to achieve high light interception (70-75%) by growing trees in row spacing (3-3.5m) and thin canopy (1-1.5m).
Trees should have 6-8 lateral branches, known as feathers, induced at a preferred height (exceeding 70 cm from the ground).
Trees consist of a single dominant trunk with no permanent branches retained.
Only those branches are allowed to remain, which are smaller than 2.5 cm in diameter.
At Orchardly, we provide specialized pruning services to the growers through our PruneIT service. Our experts help the growers to train their trees efficiently for maximizing their yield potential and minimizing the disease load. The service can be booked through our Orchardly App.
In conclusion, the choice of training systems for apple trees plays a pivotal role in shaping not only the tree’s form and growth patterns but also the overall efficiency of orchards. From the versatility of the Modified Central Leader System, with its ability to adapt to various disease susceptibilities, to the openness of the Open Center System, which allows light to penetrate and minimizes shading, each system has its own advantages. Across the globe and in the specific context of Kashmir, growers adapt and refine their techniques to produce top-quality apples while embracing the challenges of changing landscapes and consumer expectations. It’s a testament to the ever-evolving relationship between nature and human ingenuity in the pursuit of sustainable, fruitful orchards.