Apple Research at Cedar Springs Research Station
Performance of Honeycrisp on Dwarfing Rootstocks
An orchard of Honeycrisp on 9 dwarfing rootstocks covering a range of vigor (B9 to M26) was established in 2002 to evaluate this newer variety. The trial was completed in 2009 and results have been in previous newsletters.
Evaluation of Rootstock Effects on Bitter Pit of Honeycrisp
The 2002 planting of Honeycrisp on 9 dwarfing rootstocks is being maintained to document differences in bitter pit incidence across rootstocks. It has been suggested that a more vigorous rootstock would result in more bitterpit, but we could find no data to support this. We now have 2 years of data (samples from 2013 are in cold storage for further evaluations). We have not observed any significant changes across the range of rootstocks; however, bitter pit incidence has been low. We are continuing this trial, and also expanding bitter pit research into looking at irrigation/groundcover management and its influence on this problem.
Pruning and Training Strategies for Establishing Ambrosia Orchards
A high density planting of Honeycrisp and Ambrosia on B9 was established with 12 ft rows and in-row spacings of 2', 3' and 4', to create 3 trees densities (907, 1210 and 1815 trees/acre) for evaluating potential mechanization in the future. All trees were grown from whips. The Ambrosia trees developed the typical U-shaped upright lateral branches, which makes it a challenge to fill their assigned space in the orchard. To evaluate whether lateral branches should be pruned out and/or trained horizontal, we worked with Leslie Huffman to use different pruning and training techniques for lower and upper tiers of scaffolds. Observations in the spring of 2013 suggested that removing 1 large lower branch and training all upper laterals to horizontal starting in the 2nd year provided a tree with the best form and highest yield potential. This pruning approach appeared to work well in the 2 ft and the 3 ft in-row spacing.
Acknowledgements of funding: Ontario Apple Growers, Michigan Apple Committee, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada CAAP program, Eastern Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
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