'Gala' apple performance with mechanical hedging in southern Brazil growing conditions

G.F. Sander, M. Magro, T.A. Macedo, F.K. Peters, L. Rufato, A.R. Rufato, T.L. Robinson
Different canopy management strategies have been used to reduce vigor and labor costs, including time of pruning and training system. “Fruiting wall” systems lend themselves to mechanical hedging, to control vigor and reduce labor costs. Hedging could eliminate the need for summer pruning. This trial evaluated different hedging times during the summer and different hedging intensities in a Brazilian orchard located at Vacaria-RS (-28,44 S; -50,85 W) on cultivar 'Maxi Gala' grafted on M.9 rootstock, planted in 2009, at ca 3,570 trees ha-1, trained as tall spindle. Trees were hedged in 2014/15 at one intensity; in 2015/16 the same intensity used in 2014/15 was compared to a heavier one. The intense hedge uniformly narrowed the trees to 90 cm thick; the less intense narrowed the trees 120 cm thick at the base, 100 cm in the top. Hedging was applied at four different times during the southern summer: first weeks in December, January, February, March. Unpruned trees served as control. The lighter hedging in 2014/15 did not cause regrowth in any of the 4 treatment times. Yield was not affected in both years for the lighter pruning, while it was reduced in the intense hedge in 2015/16 if pruning were done in December. Fewer fruit dropped in the intense hedge in January than in December. Further observations need to be carried out, namely on growth, vigor and return bloom.
Sander, G.F., Magro, M., Macedo, T.A., Peters, F.K., Rufato, L., Rufato, A.R. and Robinson, T.L. (2018). 'Gala' apple performance with mechanical hedging in southern Brazil growing conditions. Acta Hortic. 1228, 109-112
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1228.15
pruning, training, orchard management, Malus domestica B

Acta Horticulturae