This manual shows the orchardist step-by-step how to develop and train the branchless multi–leader apple tree.
The manual can be followed by unskilled orchard workers.
The branchless multi–leader apple tree is a relatively new training system in Australia and will be progressively updated.
Topics covered in the manual
What are the problems with branches?
- A: Branch manipulation
- B: Angles and sizes of branches and limbs
- C: Angles and positions of branches and limbs
- D: Branches & limbs with different growth habits
- E: Dormant heading cuts create vigour
- F: Bent branches and sunburn of apples
Benefits of a branchless multi-leader tree
Different parts of a branchless tree
- What are fruiting units?
- Fruiting units of branchless multi-leader trees
- What is a spur?
- What are vegetative spurs?
- What are reproductive or fruiting spurs?
- What is known about spur leaves?
- What role do shoot leaves play?
- What are axillary and terminal buds?
- Not all floral buds are the same
Making good use of sunlight
Upright vs Angled canopies
How many leaders per tree?
Choice of rootstock & suggestions
Branchless two–leader trees on an upright trellis and on Open Tatura
Tree training: First year — two leaders per tree
- Leader selection
- Guiding the leaders up the strings
- Materials for canopy & tree support
- Remove any sylleptic shoots
- Remove any new shoots
- Select leaders of equal size
- Maximise canopy surface area
- Using two branches developed in the nursery
Tree Training: Year 2 — give the head a good start
- De-blossom and de-fruit the trees
- Controlled canopy development
- Create fruiting units,force growth of new shoots
- Support the leaders
- Canopy development
Tree Training: Year 2 — the bench cut
The dormant 2-year-old tree: Leaders are dressed with young fruiting units
How to deal with a few semi-strong shoots to become fruiting units
Plant polliniser trees
The branchless four-leader tree
NEW Tree Training: Year 3 — for trees with two or four leaders
- STEP 1: Create fruiting units in the upper part of the leaders with a foliar spray of Cytolin
- STEP 2: Pluck the apical portion of the leaders
- STEP 3: Score
NEW How many apples to leave on young trees after thinning
- 1. Predict potential crop load from tree size
- 2. Predict potential crop load from the interception of sunlight by trees
- 3. Thin fruit and monitor fruit growth
NEW Benchmarks for marketable yields
Thinking of grafting-over?
Replacing nutrient losses from harvested fruit
Nitrogen for branchless apple trees
Calcium: in the soil, tree and fruit
Crop load management: pruning and thinning
What happens to trees after harvest?
What causes biennial bearing?
What is water core?
Avoid skin russet
How do apples turn red or pink?
Sunburn symptoms and control
- The benefits of hail net
- Crop load
- Bee activity
- Type of hail net/structure/shape
- Colour of net
Water & stress
When are apples ready to harvest - Nine maturity tests
Six steps to prepare soil before planting
- STEP 1. Have your soils tested
- STEP 2. Grade your block (if necessary)
- STEP 3. Apply lime, gypsum, rip and cultivate the soil
- STEP 4. Hill up the surface soil
- STEP 5. Sow ryegrass or let weeds develop
- STEP 6. Spray out ryegrass or weeds before planting
Soil organic matter
How useful is a soil test?