Columns fruit

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Many gardeners want one or two fruit trees in the garden, but do not have enough space for spreading apple or cherry trees. Pine fruit trees offer the optimum solution here: They provide the full fruit enjoyment and require only very little space. Even berry bushes such as currant or kiwi can be pulled to save space on the staff. Pile apple trees - known as "Ballerinas" for their slender, upright growth habit - bear the first fruits in the second year after planting. The yields of pillared fruit are not as high as with large fruit trees due to the small surface area, but as a snack the slim trees make an excellent figure.

What is pillared fruit?

As pillar fruit one calls very slow-growing varieties, which grow extremely slim in the height. A distinction is made between genetically-oriented column trees, which grow slenderly in height, and cultivated pillar fruit, which retains its shape through refinement and shape-cutting. Unlike traditional fruit trees, tree fruit trees have no crown. Colony apples produce their fruits directly on the stem. This makes the plants ideal when space is scarce.

Column sweep 'Liane'

At harvest time, the stem of pillared fruit, here the plum 'Liane', is covered with fruit all over

Especially newer varieties of the columnar shrubs can be pulled in the bucket on the balcony or terrace and still produce tasty fruits and good yields. Unlike small-sized trees, so-called spindles or spindle bushes, the columnar apples are stable up to 2.5 meters high. Narrow-growing stalk cherries or column bulbs do not naturally remain small and are therefore refined on weak growing substrates. So they are only between two and four feet high. Caution: Unfortunately, there are providers who sell normal growing fruit trees as pillar fruit, but quickly get out of shape. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase pillar fruit generally only from the specialist dealer, where attention is paid to quality and varietal identity.

Planting column fruit

The best planting time for column fruit is in March and April. A full sun (berry even in partial shade) is ideal. Lift a planting hole of 60 to 80 centimeters in height and width and mix the excavation with some compost. After planting, gently pound the tree and pile up a pouring rim. Keep the tree disc carefully over the year, as grass and weeds affect the growth.
Planting at least two varieties, such as the apple trees 'Polka' with sweet and 'Pomforyou' with sour fruits, the fertilization and thus a rich harvest is ensured. The Sommerkiwi 'Dr. Szymanowski needs a suitable variety as pollinator, otherwise it does not produce fruits. Self-fertile varieties do not necessarily need a planting partner. Ask your dealer if the variety is self-pollinating or if you need a type of fertilizer. Also, be sure to have a good winter hardiness of the woody plants, especially if you have planted your pillar fruit in the pot and lack the space to accommodate all the potted plants in winter quarters. Attention: Not all pillared fruit trees are suitable for planting in the field. For example, those who plant a pillar cherry can experience a surprise: In a short time, it will become a tree up to five meters high.

Pillar fruit in the pot

Plant column fruit in the pot

When planted in a pot, the vessel should have sufficient capacity (at least 30 liters)

Pale fruit is well suited for planting in a bucket. For a good stability and sufficient nutrient supply this should not be too small. A young fruit tree needs a bucket of at least 30 liters capacity. It is best to plant freshly purchased fruit trees immediately, but at the latest in the same autumn, into a new pot. Fill the plant pot with a mixture of garden soil, sand and compost. Put the trees in such a way that the finishing point looks out about eight to ten centimeters above the ground. Place the pot on small feet of wood or clay, so that excess irrigation water can drain. After five to seven years - depending on the pot size - the next repotting is due.

Cut the column fruit

When cutting column fruit you have to distinguish the fruits. Apple trees are the most suitable for the columnar form, as they are already contained in the genes of the slender growth habit. Varieties such as 'McIntosh', 'Rondo', 'Sonata', 'Rhapsody', 'Starcats' and 'Jucunda' keep their lean line without much effort.Here you can shorten all the longer shoots to 20 to 40 centimeters in the summer cut, so that the plants produce enough new fruit wood. If shoots have to be removed, cut the branches directly on the central drive, otherwise unwanted side branches will form again.

Cut the column fruit

Pillar apples preserve their slim line naturally (left). In pillar cherries too long fruit branches are shortened annually to about 40 centimeters (right)

Some types of pears such as 'Decora' are naturally narrow. On the other hand, stone fruits such as cherries and periwinkles are particularly compact growing varieties, but after only a few years they strive for breadth and must therefore be pruned in good time. Here it is important to promote the dominance of the center drive and to keep the side shoots short. The overgrown fruit branches should therefore be cut to about 40 centimeters each year. Pale fruit can also be cut at height, but only after five to seven years, otherwise an undesirable branching of the trees will begin. Shorten the center drive over a deeper seated, flat outgoing side shoot. The best time to cut fruit is mid to late June.

Cultivate column fruit

In addition to a regular cut, you should keep an eye on the fruiting of the trees and thinn out if necessary. A too rich fruit approach leads to small fruits and leaching the plant - the harvest in the following year can fail (so-called Alternanz). For this reason, break off the excess fruiting in early June and leave one, at most two fruits per fruit tuft. This ensures consistent and high-quality yields. A thinning of the fruits is required only for apple, peach and pear.
With cherry or plum one can do without this measure. If your pillared fruit tree is in the pot, the used soil must be replenished regularly. Pour your sweetgum plenty of limescale water two to three times a week. Fertilization takes place only once a spring with a slow-release organic fertilizer, which is easily incorporated into the upper soil layer. Planted trees are supplied with about 40 grams of horn shavings per square meter. Pear fruit in the tub should be protected from hail, heavy rain and frost, especially during flowering.

Pale fruit as a hedge

Plant the pillar apple

Pale fruit can also be planted excellently as a hedge or sight protection

Due to its tremendous ornamental value, a special field of application for column fruit is row planting as a screen or hedge. With the small, compact trees, individual areas can be decoratively bordered or bordered in the garden. So why not plant a small apple hedge? Draw a ditch along a planting line and set the apple trees 50 to 60 centimeters apart. The planting depth should be the same as in the pot.

The best varieties

The pear 'Decora' matures at the end of September and convinces with juicy, crispy sweet flesh. The robust pillar bulb 'Concorde' loves a warm location. From mid-September you can harvest the delicious fruits.
The column apple 'La Torre' is scab and mildew resistant and carries from the second plant year crimson, feinsäuerliche and well storable fruits. 'Rhapsodie' is a juicy, robust pillar apple with long shelf life. The variety 'Equilibro' carries up to five kilograms of fruit per season. The apples of the variety 'Redini Cuckoo' are not only red on the outside but also red on the inside. They are rather small and have a sour-fresh taste. 'Pompink' and 'Pomforyou' taste particularly aromatic and are resistant to scab, aphids and other maladies. The sweet fruits of the columnar apple variety 'Flamenco' mature at the end of September until the beginning of October. Tip: eat quickly, as the apples can only be stored for a short time.

Pillar bulb 'Decora'

Column apple 'La Torre'

Column bulb 'Decora' (left) and column apple 'La Torre'

The sour cherry 'Jachim' is self-fertile and can be educated like a columnar or as a multi-bush shrub. The sweet cherry 'Sylvia' is content with little space. The tree grows compact and produces close to the middle drive many sweet, dark cherries. It is also self-fertile, but preserves its compact growth only on a regular basis.

Column cherry 'Sylvia'

Column apricot 'Somo'

Column cherry 'Sylvia' (left) and columnar apricot 'Somo'

The pillar plum 'Liane' delivers reliable fruit even in higher altitudes, whether in the bed or on the balcony. The medium-sized, juicy fruits, which can be harvested from August, can be easily removed from the stone. The apricot 'Somo' is hardly susceptible to mildew. To preserve the column growth, you should shorten the side shoots regularly. The self-pollinated apricot 'Fruttoni Apricompakt' will be available from mid-July. The columnar-growing plum 'Fruttini Skyscraper' is a good two meters high and is already ripe in July / August. The yellow miniflower 'Fruttoni Golddust' with sweet fruits can be harvested in mid-August.The Sommerkiwi 'Dr. Szymanowski 'also bears fruit in August.

Educate currants as pillar fruit

Currant 'Trajan'

The currant 'Trajan' can easily be brought to the pillar

It is not well known that the blackcurrant bushes, which normally grow overhanging, can also be raised as pillar berries. Basically, this is possible with all varieties, it is particularly easy with new varieties such as 'Trajan' or duo currant 'Dulina' with red and white berries. If you want to raise a currant shrub to a columnar fruit, simply tie one to three strong rods per shrub to a stable rod. Then, in early spring, cut all two-year-old side shoots, which bore fruit last year, back to 1.5 centimeters long cones. Do not cut annual twigs - they bring the berries in the summer.

Video Board: Fruit Columns, Mini-Golf Craze & a Killer Tiller with Editor Charlie Adams.

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