EXPERIENCES WITH SWEET CHERRY SPINDLE TREES
Cherry growers and researchers all over the world are searching for training systems suitable for intensive orchards. In our rootstock trials, different spindle training systems have been used for cherry trees. In this paper, experiences on training and pruning of spindle trees are presented. Brunner-spindle trees are developed with a central leader and horizontal scaffold branches. Light bearing wood is positioned on the central leader and scaffold branches. During training, shoots for scaffold branches are bent down or a sectorial double pruning is used. The growth of the central leader is reduced by delayed heading, and the strong upright shoots are pinched in summer. Based upon tree size, spacing of 5 to 6 m between rows and 3 to 4 m between trees appears appropriate. This training system is useful for hand picking but it is also suitable for mechanical harvesting. Zahn-spindle trees are developed with a central leader without scaffold branches, and the light bearing wood is positioned directly on the central leader. Only one-year-old nursery trees with laterals are suitable for planting. Trees are not pruned after planting to maintain the dominance of the central leader and to reduce the vegetative growth in the first years. For the second year and beyond, upright shoots close to the central leader are removed. Appropriate spacing is 4 m between rows and 2 to 2.5 m between trees. This training system is suitable for hand picking. Combining the advantages of the two training systems, slender spindle trees were developed using sectorial double pruning on the bottom horizontal scaffolds of the canopy. Trees started bearing fruit in the 3–4th year and the yield efficiency was greater than the average traditional orchards with modified central leader. The fruit quality on the young fruiting wood was excellent. Spindle trees need regular pruning in summer because wounds caused by pruning heal slowly and are susceptible to fungi and bacteria. To avoid deep infection of the central leader of spindle trees, it is important to leave a 20–30 cm stub. Medium growth reduction by rootstocks combined with slender spindle training system and summer pruning might provide proper tree size for intensive orchards with 1000–1500 tree/ha density.
Hrotkó, K., Simon, G., Magyar, L. and Hanusz, B. (1997). EXPERIENCES WITH SWEET CHERRY SPINDLE TREES. Acta Hortic. 451, 637-642
Brunner-spindle, delayed heading, heading, pinching, pruning, sectorial double pruning, spacing, slender spindle, summer pruning, training system, tree size, Zahn spindle