Monday, August 6, 2012

Training Systems in Intensive Apple Cultivation: Trellies

This is in continuation to my previous blog on Training Systems of Apple Trees in Intensive Orchards where I mentioned about three basic training systems of apple trees in intensive cropping i.e. high density apple plantations. Today I am going to discuss about trellis.


Why trellis or any other support system based training system should be adopted for the HDP on clonal rootstocks. As you are now aware of the fact that the production can be optimized by harvesting 70 per cent of available light. Further the wood produced and fruit produced ratios are to be optimized. Why we produce wood? Wood is produced for structural strength. This is the reason for growing larger trees on strong scaffolds. If we want to grow HDP we must understand that support system is necessary to reduce wood production. This helps us in growing the trees with more fruiting wood than the structural wood. Therefore the production can be started at early stage of the plant/ orchard life. If the production can be taken as early as two to three years of planting, the breakeven point of orchard establishment can be met earlier.

The system basically consists of one or more high tensile steel wire(s) drawn tight and supported 2 - 3 m above the ground by a series of in-line posts spaced 6 to 10 m apart. The closer the spacing for the inline posts, the higher the degree of stability of the support system under strong wind or high crop load conditions.

The trellis support system is somewhat more complex than the Slender spindle and vertical axis to install. It does require a high level of skill to build the support system and be sure it is adequate to hold the trees and crop load. A post failure in this system can result in the loss of several trees. The standard anchoring system now in use is the "auger anchor" which is screwed into place. Posts are generally pounded or watered (water gun) into the ground.

The key problems of trellis systems are varieties with excessive vigorous or strong rootstocks that result in excessive pruning to contain the tree. Also, trellis systems support the total weight of the crop load and, as a result, must be exceptionally sturdy with posts for wire support located every few trees in the row.

In coming posts I shall be discussing about Slender spindle, Vertical Axis and Super Spindle training systems.