Fruit tree forms

Fruit tree forms

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The Forms, or shapes, of most fruit trees can be manipulated by pruning
Pruning fruit trees
Pruning fruit trees is a technique that is employed by arboriculture to control growth, remove dead or diseased wood, and stimulate the formation of flowers and fruit buds. Pruning often means cutting branches back to laterals or back to the main stem using proper pruning techniques. It may also...

 and training in order to increase yield. Tree shaping can improve their suitability for different situations and conditions. Pruning a tree to a pyramid
Pyramid
A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge at a single point. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or any polygon shape, meaning that a pyramid has at least three triangular surfaces...

 shape means that trees can be planted closer together. An open bowl or cup form increases the penetration of sunlight, thus encouraging a high fruit yield whilst keeping the tree short and easy to pick from. Other shapes such as cordon
Cordon
A cordon is also a line of people, military posts, or ships surrounding an area to close or guard it.Cordon may also refer to:* Cordon and search, a military operation...

s, espalier
Espalier
Espalier is the horticultural and ancient agricultural practice of controlling woody plant growth by pruning and tying branches so that they grow into a flat plane, frequently in formal patterns, against a structure such as a wall, fence, or trellis, and also plants which have been shaped in this...

s and fans offer opportunities for growing trees two dimensionally against walls or fences, or can themselves be trained as barriers.

Forms



Bush trees are the traditional open goblet shaped form, with a clear lower stem. Within this branch, several subforms are frequently used; these include the spindlebush-form; which was designed for dense orchards by Schnitz-Hubsh and Heinrichs in Germany in 1936, and is currently also the most popular training system for dwarf apple and pear trees.

Cordons are single stemmed trees with fruiting spurs planted at an angle. Any side branches are removed by pruning. cordons take less space and crop earlier than most other forms which means that more varieties can be got into a small space, but yields are smaller per tree. A special cordon set-up is the Bouché-Thomas system.

Espaliers have a central vertical trunk with three or four horizontal branches each side. A special espalier in this group is the LePage-system.

Fans have a short central trunk with several radiating branches growing from the crown.

Step-over espaliers have single horizontal branches at 30 cm from the ground and make a novel and productive border to the vegetable plot.

All of these shapes require training by tying the branches to the required form, and pruning to retain the desired structure. This is usually carried out in autumn for major cutting back and late summer for light trimming. Autumn pruning encourages woody growth whilst late summer pruning encourages fruiting. Not all trees will accept all of the shapes above- apples and pear
Pear
The pear is any of several tree species of genus Pyrus and also the name of the pomaceous fruit of these trees. Several species of pear are valued by humans for their edible fruit, but the fruit of other species is small, hard, and astringent....

s do well as cordons and espaliers for example, whereas cherries prefer to be fanned.

A study on orchard mango trees, in Nelspruit
Nelspruit
Nelspruit is a city of more than 500,000 people situated in northeastern South Africa. It is the capital of the Mpumalanga province . Located on the Crocodile River, Nelspruit lies about west of the Mozambique border and east of Johannesburg. The towns of Nelspruit are Kanyamazane and Pienaar...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, compared open vase, closed vase, central leader, palmette and standard pruning systems, and recommends a modified pyramid, somewhere between a central leader and a closed vase system, for higher density mango orchards. The study also evaluated both post fruit-set and post-harvest pruning, indicating that late mango cultivars benefit from pruning while bearing in late fall, while early cultivars may be best pruned immediately after harvest.

Yield and spacing

Yields and spacing table

Apples and pears

Yield

Spacing

Apples

Pears

In rows

Rows apart

Bush

25–50 kg

20–45 kg

4–5 m

4–5 m

Dwarf bush

15–25 kg

10–20 kg

2.5–5 m

2.5–5 m

Dwarf pyramid

5–7 kg

3–5 kg

1.5–2 m

2 m

Espalier (two tier)

10–12 kg

7–10 kg

3–6 m

2 m

Fan

5–15 kg

5–15 kg

4–5 m

-

Single cordon

2–4 kg

2–3 kg

0.5–1 m

2 m

Standard

50–200 kg

40–100 kg

6–10 m

6–10 m

Other tree fruits

Bush (sour cherry)

15–20 kg

4–5 m

4–5 m

Bush (plum and peach)

15–30 kg

4–5 m

4–5 m

Bush, standard (sweet cherry)

15–50 kg

5–12 m

5–12 m

Fan (all stone fruits)

7–15 kg

4–5 m

-

Fan (sweet cherry)

6–15 kg

5-7.5 m

-

Pyramid (plum)

15–25 kg

3–4 m

3–4 m

Standard (plum, peach and apricot)

15–50 kg

5-7.5 m

5-7.5 m


See also


  • Pruning fruit trees
    Pruning fruit trees
    Pruning fruit trees is a technique that is employed by arboriculture to control growth, remove dead or diseased wood, and stimulate the formation of flowers and fruit buds. Pruning often means cutting branches back to laterals or back to the main stem using proper pruning techniques. It may also...

  • Fruit tree propagation
    Fruit tree propagation
    Fruit tree propagation is usually carried out through asexual reproduction by grafting or budding the desired variety onto a suitable rootstock.Perennial plants can be propagated either by sexual or vegetative means...

  • Fruit tree pollination
    Fruit tree pollination
    -Apple:Most Apples are self incompatible and must be cross pollinated. A few are described as "self-fertile" and are capable of self-pollination although they tend to carry larger crops when pollinated. A relatively small number of species are "Triploid", meaning that they provide no viable pollen...

  • Orchard
    Orchard
    An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

    s