EVALUATION OF FIVE APPLE TRAINING SYSTEMS IN THE OKANAGAN VALLEY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
A 9-year study comparing yields and labor efficiency of five apple training systems was conducted at three sites in the Okanagan Valley with two cultivars, ‘Starkrimson Red Delicious’ and ‘McIntosh’ (‘Summerland McIntosh’ and ‘Macspur’), using tree densities and rootstocks appropriate to the system. The two high density systems, slender spindle (SS) (‘McIntosh’, M.9 rootstock; ‘Red Delicious’, M.26 rootstock; 1905 trees ha-1) and vertical axis (VA) (‘McIntosh’, M.9 rootstock; ‘Red Delicious’, M.26 rootstock, 1586 tree ha-1) outyielded the trellis system (TR) (‘McIntosh’, M.9 rootstock; ‘Red Delicious’, M.26 rootstock, 1235 trees ha-1) and central leader (CL) systems (‘McIntosh’, M.26 rootstock, 800 trees ha-1; ‘Macspur’, M.4 rootstock, 605 trees ha-1; and ‘Red Delicious’, M.26 rootstock, 800 trees ha-1, and M.4, 605 trees ha-1) with the respective cultivars. Cumulative yield of the two high density systems was 1.6 to 4.1 times higher than other systems. In the first 4 years the yields of the two highest densities were three to five times higher. VA produced almost the same yield as SS but at a lower tree density. The various systems were similar to each other in labor efficiency, except for the SS which was lower. The lower labor efficiency of the SS, however, had little effect on projected labor costs. The accumulated labor costs ($8.00 Canadian hr-1) on a per kg basis were similar for all systems ranging from 5.5 cents for low density CL and VA to 6.6 cents for SS. More time required for training was the main factor affecting lower efficiency of SS. SS and VA generated more gross revenue than did CL or TR systems in the first eight years of the planting (about two times assuming 35 cents per kg and a 75% packout).
Quamme, H.A., Brownlee, R.T., Kappel, F., Geldart, G., Sanders, M., Arndt, H., Watson, T. and Waterman, P. (1997). EVALUATION OF FIVE APPLE TRAINING SYSTEMS IN THE OKANAGAN VALLEY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA. Acta Hortic. 451, 495-504
pruning, rootstocks, high density orchards, apple yield