A renewed interest in older growing and pruning methods has resulted in more enquiries for information on training these compact apple trees, which can make ideal, shapely and easily accommodated trees.
Although primarily designed for rootstocks which would otherwise be too vigorous for the available space, it is coming back into fashion for it’s formal outline and ability to encourage heavier yielding trees. If you fancy trying this system the M26 or M106 rootstocks are the best ones to use.
Buy a strong maiden tree and plant with not less than 6’ between trees and 4’ between rows. After planting, cut it down to about 20 inches. Any side laterals that remain lower than this may pruned back to about 6” from the base of the main stem. Thereafter each summer these laterals, and any more that develop, should be cut back to about 5 leaves in midsummer. If further growths appear after that should be pruned back again in October.
The tree will start to yield promisingly after 3 years and
A new main leader should have taken the place of the one you cut back after planting and when the trees are around 7’ high this leader should then be cut back by half in May. Thereafter all growths that arise at the top of the tree should be pruned back to half an inch from their base each May. Upward leaders that arise from the side branches should be cut back in May. be in full production at 5 yrs. These trees normally prove to be very productive with fruits of good quality. It has been said that dessert apples suit this system better, but it has been used successfully for cooking apples, and plums as well.