Orchard architecture effects on yield and economics of two apple cultivars
Tree training systems for apple have changed dramatically in the last ten years in the eastern US. In general commercial growers have changed to narrow upright systems with in excess of 1500 trees ha‑1. To evaluate these newer training systems a planting was established with two cultivars; Jonagold/B.9 and Fuji/M.9 T337, both at 1.5×4.25 m (1537 trees ha‑1) in 2008. Training systems included a vertical axe (VA), minimally pruned (MP), tall spindle (TS) and tall trellis (TT). At the end of the 10th growing season there was no difference in tree size within cultivars due to training system. Cumulative average number of fruit tree‑1 and ha‑1 was greatest for both cultivars on the MP system. Total cumulative yield (kg tree‑1 or Mt ha‑1) was not significantly different for Jonagold as influenced by training system. However, for Fuji, trees in MP system had significantly better yield tree‑1 and ha‑1 than the TT but similar to TS and VA. Time to prune and train each system was recorded for the first 9 years and trees in the TT system required the most annual time. Cumulative yield efficiency for Jonagold in the TS and MP systems was significantly lower than that for trees in the TT training system. There was no significant difference in cumulative efficiency for Fuji by system. Fruit samples were collected at harvest and run across a grader to determine size distribution. Economic analysis of results for Jonagold, using prices from a commercial packer, showed that income was greatest for trees in the MP system, labor costs were highest for the TT system and the net return was greatest for trees in the MP system. Dollar values for Fuji trees were all higher than those for Jonagold. Income and net returns were highest for trees in the VA system and labor costs were highest in the TT system.
Crassweller, R.M., Kime, L.F. and Smith, D.E. (2020). Orchard architecture effects on yield and economics of two apple cultivars. Acta Hortic. 1281, 207-212
Malus domestica Borkh., training systems, yield efficiency, fruit size, labor efficiency