Features of growing columnar apple trees
- Part 1. Colon-shaped apple trees - features and best varieties
- Part 2. Features of growing columnar apple trees
In the Russian Federation and CIS countries, the apple tree is the most popular crop. But in small summer cottages it is impossible to place more than 1-2 trees due to the wide spreading crown. Therefore, the appearance of colonized crops, forming relatively large yields, occupying a small area, attract the attention of gardeners. At the same time, there are replicas that the columnar apple trees do not form the expected crops, the fruits are small and tasteless, and the aboveground crown, forming side shoots, is not much like a column strewn with apples. Probably, agricultural technology was violated, which in the first years required the rigorous implementation of all the provided care procedures, especially in the feeding, watering, pruning and crop formation.
Location and soil requirements
Given the poor development of the root system of this type of apple trees, they need fertile soils of high moisture capacity, water- and breathable. On heavy clay soils, good drainage in the planting pit is necessary. Under the garden of columnar varieties, it is better to choose a site with a high occurrence of groundwater (at least 2 m from the soil surface). Apple trees do not like shade and cannot stand strong gusts of wind, therefore, the site should be sunny and protected from the prevailing wind corridors.
Period and rules for planting columnar apple trees
Rules for buying seedlings
The main role in planting orchards of colonized apple trees is played by planting material. When buying on the market, and even more so on the highway, seedlings of summer varieties can be sold instead of autumn varieties, one variety can be replaced with another or even a different crop (for example, a pear). In order not to be deceived and acquire high-quality planting material, follow the following rules.
- Get seedlings with a tagon which the grade and age of the seedling is recorded. Ask the seller for a written escort, which indicates zoning, fruiting period, winter hardiness, resistance to diseases and pests, other data.
- Seedlings sell with open or closed root systems. If you buy seedlings directly in the nursery, it is better to buy with a closed root system. Such seedlings have a long shelf life before planting and a higher percentage of survival when planting at a constant. Pay attention to the container. Whether the seedling grew in it or was transplanted before the sale. A seedling transplanted into a container before sale is easy to remove from the latter and it may not take root.
- You can ask when you dig a seedling of the selected variety and carefully examine it. It should not have mechanical damage to the bark and root. The latter should not have sagging on the central and lateral roots.
- Inspect the vaccine. Given the fragility of the scion and stock, the vaccine can be damaged. Pay attention to the stock. For the colony-shaped apple trees, 2 types of stocks Paradizka Belorusskaya (PB-4) for the southern regions and Malysh Budakovsky for the middle zone of the Russian Federation are used. They differ from other types of stocks by the color of the bark: in PB-4 it is usually light green almost light green with a yellowish tint, in the second it is violet-red. Other stocks will not provide dwarfism of columnar apple trees and other biological features of the columns.
- If you buy seedlings prepared for sale, check the root system. The roots should be elastic, without sagging and bumps. When scraping the bark from the root, the tissue should be white, lively. Seedling bark is not dried, leaves are removed.
- It is better to buy annual seedlings. They do not have side branches. The stem is usually 60-70 cm long with 5-6 kidneys.
- When transported to the landing site and before planting, the roots must remain moist. They must be wrapped in moist burlap and film. Before disembarking, dip in a bucket with root or other root stimulant overnight.
Landing pit preparation
Landing pits are best prepared in the fall according to the scheme in the diary entries. The distance between the rows is at least 1.0-1.2 m, in the row between the trees (calculated on the average habitus of the crop) 0.4-0.6 m. The standard dimensions of the landing pit are 50x50x50, 60-70x60-70x50 cm, and the final customized to the size of the root system of the purchased seedling.
Planting seedlings of a columnar apple tree
For planting, it is more practical to use annual seedlings. They take root more quickly, although they look very small and thin in appearance compared to biennials. Planting is best done in the spring before buds open. Drainage is performed from coarse gravel and sand with a layer of at least 20-25 cm. The removed soil of the planting pit must be mixed with humus or mature compost and mineral phosphorus-potassium fertilizers. For one tree, the mixture should contain 4-5 kg of organics and 80-90 g each of superphosphate and potassium sulfate. A glass of wood ash is added to the mixture and mixed thoroughly.
We install the seedling trunk in the pit strictly vertically, straighten the roots, drive in the support. The root system should be freely located in the pit without bending roots. We start backfilling from empty places, moving closer to the seedling. Given the fragility of the vaccine, be careful and careful. Having filled the hole up to the middle, lightly tamp the soil and fill 0.5 buckets of water not cold from the street, but better than room temperature. After soaking, check the location of the vaccine relative to the edge of the planting pit. The vaccine should rise 2-3 cm above the ground. If the vaccine is dug up, the roots of the scion can begin to develop under adverse conditions. We finally fill up the hole, compact the soil around the stem and tie the seedling to the support with a wide ribbon through the figure eight. We form a hole around the trunk of the seedling with the sides no higher than 2-3 cm and add water. For each seedling, water consumption is 1-2 buckets, depending on the age of the seedling. After planting, the soil is mulched. For winter, the mulch is removed.
Caring for a Colon Apple Tree after Planting
Post-planting care for colon-shaped apple trees consists of:
- top dressing
- regulating the load of the tree during flowering,
- protection against diseases and pests,
- winter protection.
Given the surface location of the roots of the colony-shaped apple trees, top dressing is best done in solid form on the surface of the soil with a small patching in the top 1-3 cm layer and subsequent watering without jet pressure. During the growing season, three top dressings are carried out.
On fertile soils during the first feeding, you can limit yourself to the introduction of nitroammophoska scatter at the beginning of leaf blooming with a dose of 50-60 g / tree. In the first year, top dressing is made a month after planting a seedling. The second top dressing is repeated after 3-4 weeks and the third after another 3-4 weeks. Instead of nitroammophoski, you can use a urea solution for feeding. Dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of fertilizer in 10 l of water and add 2-3 l / tree under the root, followed by watering and mulching. By the end of July, top dressing is completed.
On depleted soils, the first top dressing is usually performed with humus. They add 2-3 buckets of mature humus or compost along the crown perimeter, water and mulch. The second top dressing is carried out during flowering with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers, using 80 g of superphosphate and 50 g of sulfate or potassium chloride under 1 tree. They can be replaced with 250-300 g of urea or 0.5 bucket of slurry. The third top dressing is divided into 2 applications. In mid-July, urea or ammonium nitrate (30 g / tree as a solution) is added again and after 2 weeks a phosphorus-potassium mixture (25 g of potassium and 40-50 g of superphosphate) or complex fertilizer is recommended.
Remember! After each fertilizer application, watering and mulching is necessary.
In addition to the recommended doses of fertilizers, 1-2 glasses of ash can be scattered around the crown perimeter. Having a small root system, apple trees respond very well to foliar feeding with microelement solutions, herbal decoctions, sodium humate, and biological products. By the end of July, all feeding is completed.
The above feeding schemes do not reflect all methods, but are recommendations for beginning gardeners. In each case, the dose, timing and type of fertilizer will be different. But when feeding, you need to follow the rule:
- in spring, the soil is saturated with nitrogen fertilizers for better development of the leaf apparatus,
- during budding, they provide elements responsible for the formation of the crop (phosphorus, potassium, trace elements),
- at the beginning of fruit setting - a composition that contributes to the growth of their mass and the acquisition of taste. During this period, it is necessary to introduce a little nitrogen fertilizer, the main fertilizer is phosphorus-potassium fertilizer, foliar micronutrients are used.
Watering Colon-shaped Apple Trees
Watering determines the juiciness of the pulp, so it is very important that the tree receives enough moisture throughout the growing season. For individual watering, form small sides (no more than 2 cm) to retain moisture. Use at least 1-2 buckets of water for each apple tree, after it has been absorbed, mulch the soil. The need for regular irrigation is determined by the drying depth of the soil. With a dry layer 4-5 cm from the soil surface, regular watering is required. If there is an irrigation system, the garden is watered along the furrows between the rows. In dry weather, the culture responds positively to sprinkling, which is carried out in the morning or in the evening after sunset. On light soils, watering is carried out 2-3 times a week.
Colon-shaped apple tree load control
In order for an adult tree to form sufficient crops, it needs time to prepare for systematic fruiting. Too early a large load (1-2 years) will make the tree weak. Therefore, experienced gardeners in the first year of flowering remove all the ovaries, leaving 1-2 to see what the future fruits will be (in shape, color, taste, aroma). The next year, half of the bouquets are removed, and in each remaining bouquet they are left, after reaching 1-2 cm in diameter, 1-2 ovaries. In subsequent years, 2 thinning is carried out in the fruit link: during flowering and during the formation of the ovaries. At the first thinning, there are 2 times more bouquets than the number of future crops. When the bouquets tie the fruit, thinning is carried out again, leaving no more than 2 ovaries. The fruits are large, and the tree itself does not suffer from exhaustion. The setting of the crop with this formation is annually. If the load is too heavy, the apples are small, often tasteless, and fruiting is periodic (after a year).
A true columnar apple tree grows in one trunk, practically does not form lateral shoots, and such a tree does not need pruning. But, sometimes a genetic malfunction occurs, and the apple tree intensively forms side branches. In this case, to maintain the colon shape, pruning is used in one of two ways:
- 2 lateral branches are removed by 2 buds, starting from the second year of the apple tree’s life,
- form a crown in 2-3 trunks (candelabrum).
1 cropping method
Colon-shaped apple trees, due to the lack of a sufficient number of fruiting branches, lay the crop on the central trunk. Lateral branches violate the harmony of the aerial top-shaped tree shape and take part of the nutrients for their development. Therefore, starting from the first spring, the lateral branches (if any) must be cut into 2 buds. By autumn, they form 2 branches 20-30 cm long. The following spring, the central shoot and the uppermost do not touch. It will be a continuation of the trunk in the future. The lateral shoots are small, underdeveloped, the curves are removed, and the normally developed ones are directed upwards, cut off - one by 2 buds, and the second left for fruiting, shortening to 30-35 cm. Having removed the crop, this branch is completely cut off next spring. In the third year in spring, the upper shoot (not central) is cut 25 cm from the central trunk. Thin last year's lateral shoots are thinned out, the prolific ones are removed, and the strong ones are shortened by 2 buds. Part of the shoots up to 40 cm long are left for fruiting. Limit the growth of the column for 5-6 years. All subsequent years, remove unnecessary, weak shoots, thin out, leaving vertical with subsequent pruning for 2 buds. During the summer, pinch shoots with a very strong increase, but the final shortening is carried out only in the spring until the buds open.
2 cropping method
The method of forming a candelabrum-shaped column is more often used in regions with cold winters when the central kidney dies. In this case, 1-2 fruit sleeves are formed from strong lateral shoots. Formation begins when the shoots reach 20 cm in length. Each is, in fact, in the future a separate column. In height, they practically do not exceed the central trunk. They are also shaped like the central trunk, cutting off the side shoots into 2 buds. Instead of one, 2-3 independent trunks are obtained on one stem (candelabrum).
Protection against diseases and pests
Colon-shaped apple trees have a higher immunity from damage by pests and especially diseases. However, in the epiphytotic years, a massive invasion of aphids, pests of buds and flower beetles can cause significant damage to the crop. The protective measures are the same as in ordinary apple orchards. Details of prevention and protection methods can be found in the article "Spring treatment of the orchard from pests"
Some plants insecticides protect apple trees well from pests. Decorate the garden and relieve some pests of marigold, dill, lemon balm, calendula.
Protection of colonized apple trees in winter
In colony-shaped apple trees during the ice-cold winter, a landmark bud on the central shoot may suffer. To prevent this from happening, the young tree is covered from above with several layers of spandbond, burlap, and other warming materials.
From sunburn, the stem of the columnar apple tree is whitened with a thick chalk solution with the addition of clay, copper sulfate or other drugs. You can whitewash a special solution of water emulsion for horticultural crops. This is the finished mixture. No additives are required. The stem is isolated from winter rodents (mice, hares) by a net-chain-link, having dug it 2-3 cm into the soil (be careful not to damage the root). In winter, after each snowfall, it is necessary to carefully compact the snow around the trunk (from mouse-like rodents). The root system of the columnar apple trees is fragile, therefore, trampling snow, do not lean on the whole mass, you can damage the roots.
Harvesting is not difficult, since the height of the columnar apple trees does not require special devices. Cleaning begins according to grade. The harvest immediately after the bulkhead is placed in a storage (basement, cellar) in separate small containers, boxes and other containers. For winter storage, the optimum temperature is +2 .. + 3 ° C. Varieties with short shelf life are used for processing (juices, compotes, jams, etc.).