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Anyone who attaches importance to high yields and low maintenance costs in the orchard can not avoid spindle trees. The prerequisite for the crown shape is a weak growing surface. In professional fruit growing, spindle trees or "slender spindles", as the form of education is also known, have been the preferred tree form for decades: they remain so small that they can be cut and harvested without a ladder. In addition, the cut is much faster, because compared to the pyramidal crown of a classic high trunk much less wood has to be taken out. For this reason, trees on heavily growing rootstocks are often called pejorative "wood factories".
The main difference between the two crown shapes is that a spindle tree has no lateral vanes. The fruit-bearing shoots branch off directly from the central drive and are like a Christmas tree arranged like a spindle around the stem extension. Depending on the type of fruit, the trees will grow 2.50 meters (apples) to four meters (sweet cherries).
In the orchard, spindle trees are usually cut with electric scissors. The battery of professional equipment can be worn like a backpack on your back
In order to educate a spindle tree, a very slow-growing treatment base is indispensable. For apple trees, you should buy a variety that has been refined on the base 'M9' or 'M26'. Relevant information can be found on the sales label. For pear spindles the underlay 'Quince A' is used, for cherries 'Gisela 3' and for plums, apricots and peaches 'VVA-1'.
Planting for spindle trees
The basic principle in the education of spindle trees is: cut as little as possible, because every cut stimulates the spindle tree to a stronger new expulsion. Strong cutbacks inevitably make growth more difficult to control. They bring about further correction cuts to bring the shoot and root growth back into balance, because only then provides the spindle tree optimal yield.
In the case of spindle trees in the pot (on the left), only the steep shoots are tied down during planting; in root-bare trees (right), competitive drives are removed and all others are easily shortened
If you have bought your spindle tree with pot bales, you should do without a plant cut. Tie down only the side branches that are too steep or bring them with attached weights to a shallower angle to the trunk. The main roots of root-bare spindle trees, however, are freshly cut before planting. So that shoots and roots remain in balance, you should also shorten all shoots here by a maximum of a quarter. Competitive drives are completely removed, as are all shoots that are below the desired crown approach of about 50 inches high. Important: In the case of stone fruit, the tip of the central drive remains uncut in both cases.
Conservation cut and fruit wood rejuvenation
It does not take long for newly planted spindle trees to bear their first fruits. The first fruit wood usually forms already in the planting year and a year later, the woody plants are blooming and fruiting.
Only remove the unfavorable growing shoots (left) up to full yield. Later, the removed fruit wood must be renewed (right)
Now you cut off only unfavorably positioned, too steep and growing into the crown inside branches. After five to six years, moreover, the first fruit shoots have passed their zenith and are starting to grow old. They are heavily branched and provide only relatively small, low-quality fruits. Now begins the continuous fruit wood rejuvenation. Just cut off the old, mostly strongly branching branches directly behind a younger side branch. So the sap flow is diverted into this shoot and it forms again in the next few years, new, better quality fruit wood. It is also important that all fruit-bearing branches are well exposed. If two shoots covered with fruit wood overlap, you should cut off either one.