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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1130: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposia on the Physiology of Perennial Fruit Crops and Production Systems and Mechanisation, Precision Horticulture and Robotics

A step further – optimizing the natural apple tree habit with the Salsa tree training concept

Authors:   P.. Lauri, B. Hucbourg, M. Ramonguilhem, R. Joannin
Keywords:   apple, ideotype, pruning, Salsa system, tree architecture, tree training
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.22
There is no straightforward relationship between tree density and economic performance. If the general trend towards higher planting densities has led to successful results, it has also been ascertained that knowledge on the biology of the tree and on its reactions to pruning and training procedures is still crucial. The search for the best compromise between tree manipulations to maintain a given canopy shape and the minimizing of adverse vegetative reactions has now provided rather satisfactory answers. As a whole, utilizing a specific tree shape has the advantage of giving simple objectives and clear rules to implement in orchards. However this may delay entrance into production and does not improve regularity of bearing. This is typically what happens when the objective is to establish conic- or cylindric-shaped tree with a single trunk. Our experience on free-standing apple trees over the past 20 years in France has shown that there is a clear interest in using the strong branches that may naturally develop from the bottom of the tree. These scaffold branches behave as intermediate structures between the trunk and fruiting branches and maintain a better distribution of vegetative growth within the canopy along with better light distribution to the fruiting sites. Based on these observations we have proposed some simple rules to train the tree. This canopy system, known as Salsa, is increasingly interesting to growers due to its satisfactory yield quantity and quality with lower labour inputs, due to less time required for training and pruning to shape the tree.

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