The columnar apple tree is a natural clone of the apple tree that lacks side branches. In British Columbia, in the village of Kelowna (located in Canada), on an old Macintosh apple tree, which was 50 years old, they found an unusual branch, or rather, it had an unusually large amount of foliage and fruits and completely lacked side branches. This happened in 1964. This spontaneous mutation did not go unnoticed by breeders and was multiplied. Over time, with the help of it, experts created columnar apple trees. At the same time, both English breeders of Kent County and specialists from other countries worked on this plant. In 1976, the first samples of this kind of apple were obtained.
Features of the columnar apple tree
Scientists have found that such unusual characteristics of the columnar apple tree directly depend on the special Co gene. In these plants, branches extend from the trunk at an acute angle, and they grow almost along the conductor. In this regard, such apple trees are outwardly similar to pyramidal poplars. Such an apple tree has a thickened trunk, on which many small branches grow, and flower buds are located on their tops. The skeletal branches of simple apple trees are much more powerful than the lateral branches of columnar apple trees. Often they are replaced by spears, fetuses or ringlets. The shoots of such a plant are quite thick, while shortened internodes are located on them. Dwarf varieties are less prone to branching compared to medium-sized (1.5-3 times) and tall (3-4 times). After the tree is 3-4 years old, the side branches stop growing. In the event that the apical bud is injured, the plant will stop growing, but the lateral branches will begin to actively grow. In this regard, those gardeners who want to grow a columnar apple tree must do everything to ensure that the growth point of the plant is preserved at least for the first 2 or 3 years. Such an apple tree will bloom and bear fruit at 2 or 3 years of age. The harvest in the first 5–6 years becomes more and more plentiful every year, but already from 7–8 years of plant life, it is observed consistently high, but this is only if the apple tree is properly cared for. The columnar apple tree bears fruit for no more than 15–20 years; after this period, most annelids die off. But if you grow strong or medium-sized varieties or a tree that has been grafted on seed stocks, then in these cases rejuvenating pruning can be used, which can significantly extend the life of the apple tree.
Apple trees such as columnar trees are ideal for small orchard owners. So, instead of one ordinary apple tree, you can plant several dozen columnar ones. There are 2 different types of columnar apple trees:
- varieties that have the Co gene;
- simple varieties that have been grafted onto super-dwarf clonal rootstocks (they are formed like pillars).
The apple tree is columnar. How to avoid counterfeiting?
Planting columnar apple trees
What time to plant
Experts advise planting this kind of apple tree in spring, but you need to have time to do this before the buds begin to open. If you wish, you can plant a seedling in open ground in the autumn in the last days of September or the first in October, the main thing is that the weather is warm. For planting, it is recommended to purchase annual seedlings, not biennial ones. The fact is that such plants are relatively easy to take root and begin to grow and bear fruit much faster. When choosing a seedling, special attention should be paid to its roots, so there should be no rot on them. Trees with dry roots are also not worth purchasing. It is best to buy a seedling in a container, it can be planted even in the summer. A suitable area should be open and sunny, but remember that such an apple tree needs protection from strong gusts of wind. The soil needs a nutrient-rich and water-permeable soil. Groundwater at the site must lie at a depth of at least 200 centimeters.
Planting a columnar apple tree in autumn
In the event that you decide to plant a large number of columnar apple trees at once, then they should be arranged in rows. So, the distance between seedlings in a row should be at least 50 centimeters, while the row spacing should be 100 centimeters. Planting pits, which should have a size of at least 90x90x90 centimeters, must be prepared half a month before planting the plants. If this is not done, then after planting and sedimentation of the soil, the root collar will be located underground, and this can lead to the death of the seedling.
In the process of digging a hole, it is necessary to discard the upper layer of soil, in which there is a greater amount of nutrients, separately from the lower layer, without allowing them to mix. In the event that the soil is heavy, then at the bottom of the hole it is imperative to place a layer of rubble mixed with sand for drainage. After that, 3 to 4 buckets of humus (compost), 100 grams of superphosphate and 50 to 100 grams of potassium fertilizer should be poured into the fertile soil and mixed. It is also recommended to add from 100 to 200 grams of dolomite flour to acidic soil. This soil must be poured into the landing hole and its surface must be leveled. After half a month, the soil will settle and compact.
After 2 weeks, you need to pour the remaining soil mixture into the planting hole with a slide. After that, it is necessary to install the root system of the apple tree directly on this "hill" so that the root collar of the seedling rises slightly above the surface of the site. After the roots are straightened, you need to pour infertile soil (from the lower layer) into the hole and tamp it well. Step back 30 centimeters from the trunk and form a roller around it, the height of which should be from 10 to 15 centimeters. The planted tree should be watered using 10–20 liters of water. After the liquid is absorbed into the soil, its surface must be sprinkled with a layer of mulch (sawdust, peat or crushed grass). If desired, you can install a support next to the seedling and tie it up.
How to plant a columnar apple tree in spring
In the event that the planting of columnar apple trees is planned for the spring, then it is recommended to prepare the planting holes in the autumn. During the winter, the soil will settle, compact, and the applied fertilizers will dissolve. Apple trees planted in such holes take root much faster, and in the same year they can even bloom. You need to plant a seedling in the spring in the same way as in the fall.
Planting a columnar apple tree
Caring for columnar apple trees
In the springtime, it is necessary to prune the apple trees and process them in order to prevent a variety of harmful insects and diseases. It is necessary to have time to carry out these procedures before the kidneys open. At the same time, fertilizers containing nitrogen must be added to the soil.
For apple trees planted this year, you need to pick off all the buds that form. In plants of the second year of life, only 10 buds are left. Starting from the third year of life, the load on the tree should not be increased immediately, but gradually, so that 2 times more buds are left on the plant than the fruits should ripen. So, on each fruit link, 2 inflorescences should remain, while thinning is done again in the summer.
Also, columnar apple trees must be watered in a timely manner and loosened the top layer of the soil of the trunk circle. However, in the case when the tree is grown on a columnar stock, the roots of the plant can be injured in the process of loosening the soil. In this case, it is recommended to tin the trunk circle, and not sprinkle it with a layer of mulch. To do this, it is necessary to retreat a quarter of a meter from the trunk and sow siderat grasses in a circle, which will need systematic mowing.
Until mid-June, you need to make a complex top dressing, for which mineral fertilizers are used. After the ovaries are formed, it will be necessary to thin them out a second time. As a result, ½ part of the ovaries should remain on the tree. After the fruits are similar in size to cherries, it is necessary to make sure that there are only 2 ovaries in each inflorescence. When the apples are similar in size to a walnut, one of the two remaining ovaries must be removed. As a result, only 1 fruit should grow on 1 fruiting link.
In summer, do not forget to carry out preventive examinations of apple trees. If any harmful insects are found or the plant gets sick, then you just need to take timely measures to treat it or get rid of pests, otherwise you may be left without a crop. 4 weeks before the intended date of collection of fruits, all processing of the plant from harmful insects and diseases should be stopped.
With the onset of August, organic fertilizers cease to be applied to the soil, as well as those that contain nitrogen. At this time, it is recommended to apply only potash fertilizers to the soil, because they contribute to a faster ripening of young shoots. In order for the upper parts of the shoots not to suffer from frost in winter, it is necessary to shorten them by 2/3 of 4 leaves at the very top.
In the autumn, when the fruits are harvested, fertilizers must be applied to the soil and treated against harmful insects and fungi that have taken refuge in the bark, as well as inside the soil of the trunk circle. If necessary, pruning should be done for sanitary purposes, and then the trees should be prepared for wintering.
Columnar apple processing
At the beginning of the spring period (before the sap flow begins) and in the fall (when the leaves fall off), these apple trees must be processed in order to prevent diseases and harmful insects. The surface of the trunk circle should also be treated. Most often, gardeners in this case use a solution of Nitrafen or Bordeaux liquid (1%). This treatment will help get rid of harmful insects and pathogens of various diseases that are in the soil of the trunk circle and in the bark of the apple tree. There are those gardeners who use a urea solution (7%) for treatment in spring, which acts as a fungicidal and insecticidal agent, as well as nitrogen fertilizer.
Due to the fact that this kind of apple trees do not have a taproot that goes deep into the soil, and at the same time the root system is surfaces and is located within a quarter of a meter from the stem, then it is necessary to water young plants in summer in normal weather 1 time in 3 days ... In dry and hot weather, columnar apple trees should be watered every day or once every 2 days. Watering mature plants should be carried out 1 or 2 times in 7 days. From the second half of June, watering is slightly reduced, and from the beginning of August, these plants stop watering altogether, the fact is that they must have time to finish the formation of flower buds, as well as growth, and also prepare for wintering.
In order for the soil not to dry out too quickly and there is no dense crust on its surface, sprinkle the trunk circle with a layer of mulch (straw) or sow it with siderates. It is recommended to water such apple trees using a drip method, while the supply of moisture to the root system should be dosed. However, once every 4 weeks, it is necessary to water abundantly so that the soil can get wet to the depth at which the roots lie. Once every 2 weeks in the evening after the sun goes down, it is necessary to thoroughly water the crowns of plants with a hose.
Since a very large number of apples are formed on this tree, it absorbs a lot of nutrients from the soil. In this regard, such a plant should be fertilized throughout the entire period of intensive growth. In spring, organic fertilizers must be applied to the soil. For this, both fermented chicken manure and slurry are used. In order for the tree to receive the required amount of nitrogen, you can spray it with a urea solution (7%), but this must be done at the beginning of the spring period, before the buds begin to open. After that, until the beginning of the second half of the summer period, if desired, the plants can be fed 2 more times by the foliar method and use the same urea solution (0.1%).
During the peak of intensive growth (from early to mid-June), trees need complex mineral fertilizers. From the beginning of August, organic fertilizers should no longer be used for fertilizing. During this period, columnar apple trees need potassium, since it contributes to the rapid maturation of the upper parts of the shoots.
Wintering of columnar apple trees
At the beginning of the autumn period, the trunks of young columnar apple trees must be properly covered with spruce branches or wood shavings. In this case, it should be remembered that only dry covering material should be used, and it must be protected from the penetration of rodents. Do not cover plants with straw. In the event that the trunk circle is mulched with straw, then it should be removed in the fall, because different rodents simply adore it. When the snow cover appears, it is necessary to huddle the base of the apple tree trunk with snow.
How I cover columnar apple trees for the winter for the winter
Pruning columnar apple trees
What time is the pruning
There should be no branches on a real columnar apple tree; therefore, it does not need pruning that forms the crown. Only the lateral branches are cut off at the very beginning of the summer period or after all the leaves have fallen off.
How to prune a columnar apple tree
One of the main principles of apple tree pruning should be remembered - the more branches you prune, the more intensive their growth will be. So, for example, you cut a branch by about ½ part, and at the same time there are 3 or 4 eyes on it. After some time, 3 or 4 strong shoots will grow from these eyes. In the event that you cut off 1/3 of the branch, and there are 7 or 8 eyes on it, then 7 or 8 medium shoots will grow of them. If the pruning is done correctly, then every year the growth of the apple tree will be equal to 10-15 centimeters, and 2 or 3 lateral buds will appear.
As you prune branches, remember not to touch the center conductor. Otherwise, having lost its point of growth, the tree will begin to actively grow branches.
At the beginning of the spring period, all side branches should be cut off from a tree in the first year of life so that only 2 buds remain on each of them. In the next 2 or 3 years, it is necessary to engage in the formation of fruit links from young shoots. Those lateral shoots that are not needed are recommended to be carefully trimmed while still green. The fact is that the healing of wounds on a lignified shoot takes relatively longer.
Pruning a columnar apple tree
Before the sap flow begins, formative pruning should be done. In plants of the first year of life, all lateral branches must be pruned, while 2 buds should remain on them. Sanitary pruning is also performed, during which diseased, crossed branches, as well as those affected by severe frosts in winter, are removed.
A tree of the second year of life is pruned, forming fruit links.To do this, out of those 2 shoots that have grown on a cut off last year's branch, you need to cut off the one that is more vertical, leaving only 2 buds on it. A horizontally located shoot will begin to bear fruit already in the current year, and 2 powerful shoots will appear from the cut off.
In the third year of life, those branches that bore fruit in the past year must be removed. With the remaining branches, the same pruning procedure should be carried out as in the past year. It should be remembered that the fruit link can function for no more than 3 or 4 years. After this period, it should be cut into a ring.
In the event of the death of the apical growth point, it is recommended to trim the guidewire, while only 2 buds should remain. Wait until lateral branches grow out of them. Only 1 of these branches should be left, and it should be located vertically. This branch will replace the conductor. The remaining side branches should be cut into a stump (not a ring), while the stumps should be the same length as simple ringlets.
In the autumn, pruning should be carried out only when it is very necessary.
Reproduction of columnar apple trees
For the propagation of columnar apple trees, the method of grafting a varietal cuttings on the stock that is most suitable is used. However, in order to successfully carry out such a procedure, experience is required. It can be propagated by seeds, but it will take too long and take a lot of energy. And yet not all apple trees that have grown from seed are columnar. Experts advise propagating such a plant with air layers. Select a branch at the very beginning of spring, the thickness of which should be similar to a pencil. Then, at the base, an annular bark incision is made, the width of which should be 5 mm. After that, you need to moisten the cotton wool in Heteroauxin and wrap this incision for 24 hours. Further, to wrap the notch, moistened peat should be used, while this place is covered with a black polyethylene bag, it is fixed so that air does not get under it. Do not let the peat dry completely. In the autumn, roots should grow at the site of the incision. After that, the branch is separated from the parent plant and planted in the soil. The success rate of this breeding is 50:50.
Growing seedlings of this type of apple trees is not an easy task. In this regard, it is recommended to buy them in proven nurseries, while the seedlings must be transported correctly.
Pests of columnar apple trees
Columnar apple trees may well be home to green and plantain aphids, sawfly, glass pan, red mite, moth, moth, leafworm, honeydew, comma-shaped scabbard, currant, fruit and subcrustal leafworms, fruit and fruit moths, various scoops, mountain ash moth, unpaired, oak-leaved and ringed silkworms, blood and red-gall aphids, weevil goose, western unpaired bark beetle, sapwood, pear pipe-worm, as well as other pests. In the fight against harmful insects, you can use insecticidal agents, and trapping belts made of corrugated paper will also come in handy (they prevent pests from going up the trunk).
Diseases of columnar apple trees
Such apple trees suffer from absolutely the same diseases as simple ones. Most often, the columnar apple tree falls ill with diseases such as: proliferation, or witch's broom, bitter fruit rot, mosaic, mosaic ringing, fly-eater, powdery mildew, milky shine, tinder fungus, common cancer, scab, dying off of branches, fruit rot, subcutaneous viral spot rubbery, rust, vitreous fruit, flattened branches, black cancer and cytosporosis.
Main varieties with photos and descriptions
The division of varieties is carried out depending on their growth, namely, they are divided into vigorous, medium-sized (semi-dwarf), and also dwarf. And they are also divided by the time of ripening of fruits into late (winter), mid-ripening (autumn) and early (summer). Below are the varieties, divided by ripening period.
On these plants, ripe apples can be harvested from the last days of July, until the first days of September. Such fruits are eaten fresh or they are used for making preserves, jams, compotes, etc. The shelf life of such apples is relatively short.
The most popular varieties:
This semi-dwarf variety has a high yield and resistance to frost, diseases and harmful insects. Yellowish-white apples have a fairly thick skin, juicy and grainy flesh with a distinct honey flavor. On average, each apple weighs 100–250 grams. Plant height can vary from 200 to 250 centimeters.
This semi-dwarf compact variety is distinguished by its high yield and resistance to frost, harmful insects and diseases. The fruits are very fragrant, painted in a pale yellow or pale green color, in some cases a slight light pink blush is formed on them. On average, apples weigh between 150 and 200 grams. The fine-grained pulp is juicy and tender.
Such a productive variety is resistant to frost, harmful insects and diseases. The shape of the red-striped, fragrant fruit is conical, the taste of the pulp is sour-sweet, while it has clearly distinguishable subcutaneous points. The cream-colored pulp is distinguished by its softness and juiciness. On average, the weight of the fruit is 140-200 grams.
The medium-sized variety is distinguished by its yield and resistance to frost, pests and diseases. The deep yellow apples are not very large, but they are quite juicy. The apples are flat.
The medium-sized variety is resistant to harmful insects and diseases. Fragrant, sour-sweet fruits have a light green color with a blush that has a fuzzy, spreading shape. Juicy apples can weigh from 100 to 220 grams.
Also quite popular among gardeners are such varieties as: Chervonets, Luch, Ideal, Raika, Flamingo, Gala, Cheremosh, Iksha, Green noise, etc.
Ripening of fruits on plants of such varieties occurs during the entire autumn period. They are eaten fresh or made from them various preparations for the winter. Such apples are stored for a relatively short time (maximum until January). Popular varieties:
This dwarf variety is one of those that have the highest taste. The truncated-conical shape of the dessert type apples are large. They are colored orange-yellow or deep yellow and weigh from 150 to 250 grams. The firm, glossy rind is rather thin, and the yellow, fragrant flesh is fine-grained. This variety is high-yielding and fast-growing.
The variety is distinguished by its yield and frost resistance. The rich red fruits can weigh 80-200 grams. The sour-sweet pulp is firm and juicy. Apples can be stored until January.
Medium-sized variety. Apples are deep red in color and have a striped blush on their surface. The shiny rind is quite dense. Fine-grained snow-white crispy pulp. It has a sweet dessert taste with a slight sourness. On average, apples weigh 100–150 grams.
The variety is distinguished by its high yield and resistance to frost, harmful insects and diseases. The fruits ripen in the last days of September or the first in November. Saturated cherry color medium-sized glossy apples have a sour-sweet juicy pulp. Average weight of fruits is from 100 to 120 grams.
Such a vigorous variety is scab resistant and winter hardy. There are red streaks on the surface of yellow apples. The average fruit weight is 150 grams. The fine-grained dense yellowish-green flesh has a sour-sweet taste. The taste is high.
Also quite popular are such varieties as: Kumir, Ladoga, Titania, Teleimon, Melba, etc.
Ripening of these varieties of apples occurs from the middle of the autumn period. They can persist until spring. Such varieties are popular:
Amber necklace (amber)
The medium-sized variety is distinguished by its yield and frost resistance. Large greenish-yellow apples have a blush. Fine-grained fragrant pulp is juicy and sour-sweet.
A medium-sized, early-growing variety with a high yield, frost and scab resistance. Fruits are large (weight about 200 grams) have a deep yellow color with a red barrel. Snow-white sweet juicy pulp is rather aromatic.
Such a self-fertile variety has a high yield and resistance to frost, harmful insects and diseases. The fruits are rather large and dark red. The rind is dense. The sweet, juicy pulp has a slight sourness. On average, apples weigh about 170 grams.
The fruits are large and their average weight is about 200 grams. The firm white flesh is juicy.
It is highly resistant to frost and scab. On the surface of large apples (average weight 170 grams) there is a bluish bloom of wax.
Also quite popular are such varieties as: Constellation, Snow White, Senator, Trident, Victoria, Barguzin, Garland, White Eagle, Sparkle, Peasant, etc.
Varieties of columnar apple trees for the Moscow region
In the Moscow region, apple trees of such varieties as Moscow necklace, Vasyugan, Currency and Malyukha will feel best.
Columnar apple varieties for Siberia
Here varieties that can withstand severe frosts (up to minus 40 degrees) are suitable. These include Iksha, Barguzin, Peasant and President. At the same time, the Vasyugan variety can withstand frosts down to minus 42 degrees. They are suitable for cultivation in the Urals, Siberia, the Far East and the Moscow region.
The apple orchard is an amazingly beautiful place, and you can probably endlessly talk about apple trees - this topic is inexhaustible. Therefore, we have dedicated a separate section to them, where you will find everything related to these fruit trees.
Apple tree varieties for different climatic zones, the choice of a seedling, its planting, crown formation, pruning and rejuvenation of old apple trees, proper tree care, protecting the crop from pests, storing and processing the harvested apples are just a part of the topics covered in publications.
Do you have apple trees growing in your country house? Tell us about them! Do they delight you with their fruits? Or maybe the harvests in your garden are so great that you call all your family and friends for help when you pick apples? Share the secrets of your success, tell us about the problems you encountered and their solutions, ask questions that have not yet been answered.
And apple trees in bloom or covered with ripe fruits are simply beautiful! Submit photos of your garden, generously share the beauty with other readers of our site!
Planting an apple tree
You can plant an apple tree in the spring before bud break or in the fall before the onset of frost for 2-3 months to allow the tree to take root. It is believed that when planting in autumn, the seedling takes root better, but in the Non-Black Earth Region it is preferable to postpone planting until the spring.
Planting an apple tree. Photo from vgplay.it
- Prepare the pits in advance in the fall. If you are planting in the fall, then prepare the hole in a month. The pit for planting should be somewhere about 1 m in diameter and 80 cm in depth, it is better to make the walls semicircular with steep edges.
- The apple tree loves a soil of normal acidity. If the soil is acidic, add lime or dolomite flour to it while digging. Lime is not compatible with phosphate fertilizers, so there should be a gap of at least 3 weeks between them. Lime should also not come into contact with the roots.
- The planting mixture should consist of fertile soil, organic and mineral fertilizers. The soil is mixed with fertilizer before you fill the planting hole with it by a third. You can apply fertilizer to the soil immediately when digging. The picture above shows how to lower the seedling into the pit. Fertilizers can be compost or humus, about 2 buckets per pit, about 1 kg of wood ash and superphosphate. Try to mix the fertilizer with the soil better. When we laid the garden, in the fall, when digging the soil, we added manure and postponed planting trees for another year.
- It is not recommended to lay fresh manure in the pit, it harms the roots. Also, do not add fertilizer with nitrogen to the planting mixture, this will slow down the survival rate of your seedlings.
A hole for planting an apple tree. Photo from the site klumba.guru
You need to take about 6 m between rows, and at least 4 m between trees in a row (this distance is suitable for vigorous varieties, if your varieties are not vigorous, then you can take a shorter distance).
Planting apple trees.
Plant apple trees possible in spring and autumn. Each of these options has its own advantages.
It is still preferable plant apple trees in the fall. In this case, the root system damaged during excavation apple seedlings during the autumn-winter period it manages to recover after planting, and with the beginning of the growing season it provides the ground organs of the seedling with the necessary nutrients to the best extent.
Spring landing apple seedlings best done in early spring. The tree planted at this time must be constantly and regularly watered. Lack of moisture can lead to a slowdown in the growth of the seedling and increases the likelihood of damage to it by various diseases.
Apple tree photo. Apple trees in bloom. Apple tree flower.
Before planting, apple seedlings are carefully inspected, rotten and dead parts of the roots are removed, all leaves are removed, thereby reducing the evaporating surface. From the drying of the roots, they are dipped in a mash made of clay or peat with a mullein.
The distance when planting between apple trees is 3 meters between rows of 4 meters. When planting, humus is used as an organic fertilizer (2 - 3 buckets for each pit), mixed with the top layer of soil.
In the pit, the seedling is planted on a mound of earth, when filling with earth, the roots need to be straightened with your hands, the soil should be compacted around the roots so that voids do not form. After that, water should be abundantly (3 - 4 buckets of water) and the trunk circle should be mulched.
Features of care in various climatic conditions
Now you are already quite familiar with the columnar apple trees. Know their merits. You calmly react even to shortcomings.
Where to plant and how much. How to grow.
And take all this into account in your place of residence. Applied to specific conditions. After all, the geography of their cultivation is very extensive.
And your task is to select varieties for your region... On sale and special varieties capable of bearing fruit in the harsh conditions of Siberia, the Urals, North-West Russia. Caring for columnar apple and pear trees is quite unpretentious.
Here are just a few varieties.
For Siberia and the Urals
Tried and tested by numerous experts and gardeners:
- Arbat, Iksha, Barguzin, Peasant, President, Vasyugan.
In the suburbs, North-West of Russia and the middle lane
And these are just some of the varieties. I did not name any more.