|Authors: ||R.M. Crassweller, D.E. Smith|
|Keywords: ||Malus × domestica, pruning, growth, yield, vertical axe, slender spindle, trellis|
A planting of ‘Ginger Gold’, ‘Crimson Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ (BC#2) on M.9 NAKB T337 rootstock was established in 1997 at the Horticultural Research Farm at Rock Springs in central Pennsylvania, USA. The cultivars chosen represented three distinct growth habits.
The trees were trained to one of four training systems; a vertical axe (A), a slender spindle (SS), 4 wire trellis (T) and an V-axe (VA), where alternate trees were trained to opposite sides at a 60° angle.
Trees in the first three systems were planted at 1.8×3.6 m or 1495 trees/ha.
The VA was planted at 0.9×4.9 m or 2241 trees/ha.
With all cultivars, the VA system had the smallest trees as measured by trunk cross sectional area.
Among cultivars ‘Fuji’ were the largest trees in all training systems followed by ‘Gala’ and then ‘Ginger Gold’. In general the tallest trees were those trained to the A; while the shortest were those in the T system.
Among cultivars ‘Fuji’ tended to be the shortest trees; significantly so for three out of four systems.
With all cultivars the cumulative yield per tree has been greatest for trees trained to the A, although with ‘Fuji’ the yields were not significantly different from the SS or T. The lowest yields per tree were consistently from trees trained to the VA; although for ‘Ginger Gold’ and ‘Gala’ they were not significantly lower than the other two systems.
In the SS and the T systems, ‘Fuji’ had significantly greater yields per tree than either ‘Ginger Gold’ or ‘Gala’. Cumulative yields per hectare for ‘Ginger Gold’ and ‘Gala’ was greatest on the VA system but not significantly better than trees trained to the A system.
With ‘Fuji’ the greatest yields were on tree in the A system but not significantly better than the VA or SS system.
In general due to the shorter height of the T system yields were lower.
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