Features of the care of colon-shaped apple trees
The main purpose of the columnar apple tree is to bring fairly abundant apple crops. In addition, the tree has one remarkable quality - it occupies a much smaller area compared to traditional varieties. In addition, the apple tree has an original appearance and can be used as an element of landscape decoration.
Features of the columnar apple tree
Colon-shaped fruit trees (whether it is an apple tree or a pear) are divided into two types. The main feature of the colony-shaped apple trees of the first type is the presence of a special gene in their cells - Co.
Column-shaped apple trees save space for small garden owners
It is this gene that causes the characteristic appearance of the tree:
- the absence of skeletal branches, instead of them thin lateral ones grow (pods, spear and gloves);
- all branches extending from the trunk grow almost parallel to it, rushing sharply upward;
- trunk, overgrown with small branches with buds of flowers at the tips, thickened;
- thick shoots with short internodes.
In addition, there are varieties whose production technology consists in grafting the escape of traditional varieties onto super-dwarf clonal stocks, after which the tree is formed in the form of a column.
A characteristic feature of columnar varieties is the following fact: tall varieties branch 3-4 times, and varieties of medium growth are 2-3 times stronger than dwarf.
For the third or fourth season after planting, lateral branching stops. In the event that the apical bud is damaged, the tree stops growing, but begins to branch more strongly. So if your goal is to grow a columnar tree, it is imperative to protect and care for the growth point at least the first 3 seasons.
Apple trees of this type begin to bloom and bear fruit usually for season 2-3. During the first 4–6 seasons, yields increase. Then, when creating favorable conditions, they remain stable for as many seasons as this tree will live for you, usually it is 16–20 years old.
After the specified time, most of the glove dries. However, varieties of medium and strong growth, as well as grafted on seed stock, bear fruiting by means of anti-aging pruning.
Planting Colony Apple Trees
Column-shaped apple tree it is better to plant in the spring, in March, before the buds swell. However, in the southern regions or under favorable weather conditions, seedlings can be planted in September. Most suitable planting material are annual trees, in extreme cases, two-year-olds. Annual trees are much faster than others adapt to a new place, take root and begin to grow.
Important! It is best to buy a seedling in a nursery or from a breeder with a reputation, otherwise you can become a victim of unscrupulous traders, "pseudo gardeners" who, at best, will sell you a seedling of poor quality, or even a different tree.
When choosing a seedling, first of all, pay attention to its root system: it should not have traces of dryness, the roots should be solid, without breaks. If there is such an opportunity, select seedlings in the container as planting material, such trees can be planted in the summer.
Prefer planting material in the container - it can be planted in the ground even in summer
Before buying seedlings, you should choose a place for planting.
It must meet the following conditions:
- the hill is well-lit by the sun; you can choose the southern or south-western slope of the hill;
- on the north side, it is desirable to have a shelter from the winds (green spaces, buildings, etc.);
- fertile soil with good permeability to water and neutral pH;
- occurrence of groundwater no closer than 2 m from the surface.
The number of trees planted also affects the choice of a place for planting.: depends on this indicator at what distance from each other to plant apple trees. If you decide to plant 2–4 trees, the size of the area under planting does not matter much. It is desirable that the trees were of different varieties, close in flowering time, this contributes to better pollination.
If you want to grow an alley from apple trees or simply place as many of them as possible on a limited area, then you need to apply this planting scheme: the distance between neighboring trees is 0.7 m, the row spacing is 1.2–1.4 m.
Having chosen a place suitable for landing, it is necessary to mark it under the pits. Dig holes should be no later than 16-20 days before the estimated landing date. It is necessary to withstand such a time interval in order for the pit to settle, otherwise it will settle later, already with the tree, which may slow its development. The dimensions of the landing pit are standard - 0.8 × 0.8 × 0.8 m.
When digging a hole, put the top layer of soil with a thickness of 1 bayonet shovel to the side, separately from the rest of the earth. In the future, we will need this fertile layer for the preparation of soil mixtures. If the soil where the tree will grow is heavy, the bottom should be covered with drainage from sand and small gravel.
A soil mixture is prepared from the deposited towards the upper soil layer. Do it this way:
- upper fertile soil cut - 2 buckets;
- humus or compost - 2 buckets;
- potassium nitrate or potassium chloride - 2-3 tbsp. l .;
- superphosphate - 4 tbsp. l
If the pH of the soil is 5.8 or lower (acidic soil), add 1 cup of dolomite flour or cement dust to the mixture. All components are thoroughly mixed, after which the pit is filled with the mixture to about half and left for 14–16 days.
After the specified time, the soil should settle and compact, after which the remainder of the soil mixture is poured onto it so that a mound is formed. The top of this hill will become the place where the base of the seedling trunk will be located. The height of the knoll should be such that, after falling asleep, the root neck is 4-6 cm above the ground.
Important! In autumn, nitrogen fertilizers should not be abused, since such top dressing negatively affects the winter hardiness of the tree, which can lead to its death in frost.
When the above procedures are completed, you can proceed directly to planting a tree:
- Drive a peg of such height that it protrudes 30-40 cm above the ground to the north of the center of the pit.
- Place the seedling on top of the knoll so that the neck of the root is 4-6 cm above the ground.
- On the slopes of the mound, carefully distribute the roots so that they do not interweave and are located in approximately the same plane.
- Fill the pit with that part of the earth that was deep in the pit. Tamp the ground, tie the trunk to the peg.
- Around the trunk, form a ring from an earthen embankment 12–15 cm high, and a radius (from the trunk to the ring) 30–35 cm.
- Pour 2 buckets of warm water into the resulting round pool. After the moisture is absorbed, mulch the circle with peat or sawdust.
a - preparation of the planting pit, b - planting of a seedling, c - a correctly planted seedling with a ring for irrigation
In the spring
Spring tree planting is no different from the procedure described above, carried out in autumn. The only difference is that it is better to prepare a hole for spring planting in the fall, during the winter garden work.
In addition, when digging a plot where trees will grow, for each square meter of area, the following composition is introduced:
- humus - 1/2 bucket;
- compost - 1/2 bucket;
- ash - 1–1.5 l;
- superphosphate - 3 tbsp. l .;
- potassium nitrate - 2 tbsp. l
Features of the care of colon-shaped apple trees
Although the tree is an apple tree, it is primarily a columnar type of fruit tree. Caring for it has a lot of features, the main of which will be described later. All the procedures described below are applicable to all columnar varieties, only the timing of the work differs. After all, spring in the Moscow Region or Belarus comes later than in the Crimea or Sochi, therefore, top dressing or pruning is done a little later.
Did you know? The concept of "Paradise" in the Celtic language sounds like "Avalon", which literally means "apple orchard".
In March, before the kidneys swell, they perform preventive work that prevents the appearance of pests and the development of possible diseases. Besides, with the onset of spring, the tree should be fed with nitrogen fertilizers.
As soon as the formation of the ovaries begins, on the trees of the first year of life they are carefully removed. On apple trees of the second season, 8-10 future buds are left. Older apple trees leave more buds that can bear fruit. Leave the number of ovaries that exceeds the expected number of apples no more than 2 times, such a gradual increase in load contributes to a better development of the tree. In the end, only 2 inflorescences should be left on the fruit links, in the summer thinning is carried out again.
Watering and loosening the soil are not less than thinning. However, loosening the soil around the apple trees grafted onto a cloniform stock should be extremely careful - this procedure can damage the root system.
For such trees, a more appropriate option for caring for the near-trunk circle would be its tinning. To do this, in a circle, you need to remove the weeds and sow in it siderata (clover, any legumes), which should be carefully thinned periodically.
In the I – II decades of June, the tree must be fed with mineral complexes. Immediately after the start of budding, re-thinning is performed - only every second future bud is left. After the fruits reach 1-1.5 cm in diameter in one inflorescence, 2 ovaries must be left, the rest are removed. When the fruits are the size of a medium apricot, one of the two remaining ovaries is removed. The result should be the following picture: on one fruiting link one fruit will grow.
The summer period is the most risky in terms of the onset and development of diseases, as well as the appearance of pests. Inspect trees periodically for potential problems.. The sooner you discover a potential threat and begin treatment, the greater the chance of its ultimate success. More details on how to deal with pests and diseases, as well as preventive measures, will be discussed below.
August is the month when nitrogen fertilizers (including organics) are no longer needed. Now the tree needs potassium - a macroelement that contributes to the early ripening of fruits.
At this time, it is worth doing the following operation:
- Find 4 top leaves on each shoot.
- Trim each of the four leaves so that only 1/3 of the leaf plate remains on the petiole.
This procedure contributes to a better wintering of the tree, preventing frostbite
After you harvest apples, the tree should be fed, sanitized against pests and foci of fungal infections. Particular attention should be paid to the near-trunk circle and the surrounding area.
The next stage of the autumn work is sanitary crown pruningif there is a need for this procedure. When all of the above activities are completed, you can proceed to the winter preparation of the tree.
Column-shaped processing of apple trees
In the first half of March, before the buds begin to wake up, and also in the fall, after the leaves are completely shed, preventive measures are taken on the tree and the soil around it.Currently, for these purposes, a rather large number of various new generation products have been created (for example, Nitrafen).
The purpose of such treatments is to destroy pathogens and pests that have settled in the bark of trees and in the ground
However, the well-known and well-proven Bordeaux liquid for years is a perfectly acceptable option. Such procedures are performed in order to destroy parasites, pests and potential pathogens on the apple tree and in nearby soil.
Important! As a means for spraying against pests and pathogens, a urea solution (1 part / 15 parts of water) is sometimes used. This is a fairly effective procedure, since in this case, in addition to preventing diseases and pests, the plant receives nitrogen fertilizer.
Characteristic the peculiarity of all the colony-shaped trees is that they do not have a main root growing inland. The roots of such trees diverge away from the trunk, forming a kind of circle, the diameter of which does not exceed 50-60 cm. It is clear that such a root is not able to extract moisture from deeply lying layers. He can take water only from the upper horizons, which dry up quickly, especially in hot summers.
So in order for the tree to not have a moisture deficit, it must be watered at least twice a week. If the weather is dry and hot, you will have to water every second day. We are talking about young apple trees, when they grow up (for 4–5 years), one or two waterings per week will be enough.
The number of irrigations begins to decrease from the II – III decades of June so that by the second decade of August they cease to water at all. This is necessary so that the apple tree before the onset of cold weather could finish the formation of flowering buds and calmly prepare for frost.
In order to better preserve water in the ground, as well as to prevent the trunk circle from becoming crusted (we have already said that loosening the circle in such trees is quite problematic), it must be tinned or mulched with sawdust, peat or straw.
The most acceptable watering method for such trees is drip, with a stable and even supply of water to the roots.. When organizing such an irrigation method, monthly irrigation in the traditional way is also necessary - plentiful, rather warm water, the purpose of which is to deeply saturate the root system and soil located deeper than it with moisture. In addition, once every 2 weeks, after dusk, a fairly abundant watering of the tree’s crown is carried out using a hose.
The best way to water is drip
Having decided to start growing trees of this type, be prepared for the fact that apple tree needs fertilizer almost all year round (except winter). Due to the biological characteristics of the tree and high productivity, the substrate under the apple trees will quickly become thinner, all the nutrients the plant takes. In order to make up for the deficiency of minerals, top dressing is performed.
Important! At the very beginning of summer, mineral complexes are introduced into the near-stem circle of colon-shaped apple trees, and already in August organic matter is not used at all. Since the end of summer, the tree needs only potassium, which contributes to the early maturation of the tops of shoots.
Organics are introduced in spring. In this quality, bird droppings or manure are used. For foliar top dressing, spraying with a solution of urea (1:15) at the very beginning of spring is used. Later, in spring, and in the first half of summer, you can spray the tree with urea twice more. Only the concentration of the solution this time should be much weaker (1 tbsp. L / 1 bucket of water).
Preparing for the winter is mainly in warming the trunk of an apple tree. Shelter should be dry, reliably prevent the penetration of rodents and protection from frost. For these purposes, roofing material, corrugated cardboard, synthetic insulation (synthetic winterizer, agrofibre) are used. The stamp should be carefully wrapped with one of the listed materials or any other suitable for these purposes.. The outer wrapping layer can be made of roofing material: in addition to thermal insulation, such a shelter protects from rodents.
Straw can not be used as thermal insulation, as it attracts rodents. In the event that you used this material for mulching during the year, it should be removed. After the first snow falls, use it for hilling the trunk.
Video: Shelter of a colonized apple tree for the winter
On a columnar apple tree there should not be branches in principle, so that we are not talking about traditional pruning. The procedure affects only the lateral shoots and is carried out after the apple tree showers the entire foliage, or at the very beginning of summer.
When trimming, remember this rule: the more you remove, the stronger what you leave will grow. That is, if you cut off most of the branch (60%), leaving the shoot with 4–5 eyes, after some time you will receive the same amount (4–5) of strong and strong shoots. At the same time, if you leave 70% of the branch length and 7–9 buds are located on it, the same number of shoots of medium size and strength will grow from them. With the correct pruning procedure, the apple tree will add 12–16 cm of growth each year and 2-3 lateral kidneys.
Unnecessary lateral shoots should be gently plucked even greener, since wounds after cutting lignified shoots heal much harder
When pruning colony-shaped fruit trees, it is necessary to remember that it is extremely important during the procedure not to damage the center conductor. Otherwise, when the growth point is removed, the tree will start to shoot lateral shoots, its growth will stop.
Important! In the event that you damaged the apical point of growth, proceed as follows: cut off the central conductor, leaving 2 kidneys on it. From two buds, select the one that grows as vertically as possible, it will replace the conductor in the future.
In the first season of tree life in a new place, in early March, side branches should be cut, leaving only two buds on each of them. In the next 2-3 seasons, fruit links are formed from young shoots. It is better to remove excess shoots with green, because after the shoots become stiff, they heal longer and worse.
Link formation takes place in this way: Find 2 shoots that grew on a branch that was cut last season. The shoot that grows horizontally is left, and the one that grows up is cut to a couple of buds. As a result, from an escape growing parallel to the surface of the earth, one should expect the fruits already this season. The shoot, whose growth is directed upwards, will give a couple of new strong shoots.
With the advent of the third spring, they do this procedure: the shoot bearing fruit in the past season is removed, with all the remaining ones the same pruning is performed as in the previous season. One fruit link bears fruit for 3-4 seasons, then it is removed to the ring.
Fig. 1 - first year, Fig. 2 - second year, Fig. 3 - third year
Propagation of Column-shaped Apple Trees
Propagation of colon-shaped apple trees is carried out by grafting a cuttings of a certain variety on the corresponding stock. However, to complete this procedure, some experience with such operations is required. Reproduction by seeds is the longest method, which also requires painstaking work.
In addition, when propagating by seeds, there is a high probability of the occurrence of such a phenomenon as splitting of characters, that is, not all seedlings will retain varietal characters and turn out to be column-shaped.
The most acceptable method of propagation of apple trees of this type, which a novice gardener can implement, is the method of air layering.
Perform the procedure as follows:
- In the first half of March, find a branch 0.6–0.8 cm in diameter on a tree.Just above the point of its connection with the trunk, make an incision of the cortex in a circle. The notch width is 0.5 cm.
- Wrap the resulting incision with cotton wool soaked in the preparation of heteroauxin.
- After a day, the cotton wool is removed, and this place is wrapped in moist peat, which, in turn, is tightly wrapped in a black plastic bag. The bag should cover wet peat and the notch tightly to completely isolate the notch and peat from light and air.
- Periodically, the degree of moisture in the peat should be monitored. By September, the roots should grow under the plastic, after which the branch can be cut from the tree and planted as an independent plant.
Video: Propagation of apple trees by air layers
It is believed that this method has a probability of a successful outcome of about 50%. In general, it should be said that growing a column-like seedling yourself is a rather complicated task even for experienced gardeners. It is easier to turn to specialist breeders or to a nursery that deals with these trees.
Did you know? In the early fifties of the XI century in Kiev, Yaroslav the Wise planted a garden consisting of apple trees. Later, these apple trees became the basis of the famous garden of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.
Pest and Disease Control
The greatest threat among the pests for the colonized apple tree, as well as for its closest relative, the traditional apple tree, is represented by aphids, sawflies, glass-cutters, ticks, moths, leafworms, scoops (all kinds of varieties), etc. They are used to control pests insecticides and hunting belts, preventing the lifting of pests up the trunk.
Use such means:
Apple-tree varieties are subject to the same diseases as all other varieties.
Did you know? The risk of scab occurrence and development is greatest in rainy summers.
The most dangerous and common diseases of apple trees are as follows:
- fruit rot;
- powdery mildew;
- common and bacterial cancer;
- rust and others
To combat diseases, Bordeaux fluid (1% solution) and other fungicides are used, such as:
As preventive measures that prevent the onset and development of most diseases, the following measures should be taken:
- fertilize regularly and on time, this event strengthens the immune system of the tree, thereby preventing the development of diseases;
- regularly inspect the apple tree, if you detect the slightest signs of disease or the presence of parasites, take immediate measures - the sooner you do this, the higher the chances of success;
- regularly perform shaping and sanitary trimming, remove dry, interwoven branches.
In March, before the movement of the juices in the tree begins, as well as in autumn, after full leaf fall, the plants are treated with 5% urea solution, or 7% urea solution.
A columnar apple tree is an excellent solution for growing everyone’s favorite fruits, especially if there is a shortage of planting space. Based on personal preferences and climatic features of a particular region, you can choose a variety individually.