Monday, October 8, 2012

Fruiting Wall Apple

Today I picked 30 Gibson Golden Delicious trees planted in 2002 on B.9 rootstock spaced 2 ft. apart. (Essentially a super-spindle.) Last year, I divided those trees into two blocks of 15 each, and began the Fruiting Wall Apple (FWA) pruning regimen beginning with a dormant hedging followed by a Summer Solstice Hedging (SSH) on one block, while I pruned the other 15 trees to a hybrid tall-spindle/super-spindle pruning. This year, I did one SSH in late June on the FWA, and a more traditional dormant pruning on the Tall Spindle Apple (TSA).

The fruit yield I picked today was almost even between the two systems (FWA vs. Tall Spindle Apple), app. 10.5 bushels of nice quality Golden's came out of each block of 15 trees. (Call it a 20 bushel bin out of all 30 trees.) If I extrapolate the yield at the current spacing, which is 2 ft. between trees X 12 ft. between rows, that is 24 square feet per tree times 30 trees equals 720 square feet of orchard equals 20 bushels. One acre (43,560 sq. ft.) divided by 720 sq. ft. equals app. 1/60 of an acre. Thus, 60 X 20 bushels equals an app. equivalent yield of 1,200 bushels per acre. Not bad. If I could do it on a whole acre... :-)

But is that really fair to the FWA? Well, tree height was limited there to about 10 ft. while the TSA was 12-13 ft. Thus TSA rows would need to be 12 ft. apart as above to maintain th 1:1 tree height/row height ratio recommended. But the FWA could be planted 10 ft. between rows therefore using only 20 sq. ft. per tree, and assuming the same yield per tree could be achieved, then that maths out to app. 1,450 bushels per acre. No hand pruning. And I picked the whole thing with only the assistance of a 2 ft. step-stool.

Is that the whole story? Well, see some of my other videos on this topic:

Can I do it again next year? We'll see. What do you think?