Colony-Shaped Apple Tree: Planting And Care, Pruning And Propagation, Description Of Varieties And Photos

The colony-shaped apple tree is a natural clone of an apple tree that has no side branches. In British Columbia, in the village of Kelowna (in Canada), an old Macintosh apple tree, 50 years old, was found to have an unusual branch, or rather, an unusually large amount of leaves and fruit and no side branches at all. This happened in 1964. This spontaneous mutation was not ignored by breeders and was multiplied. Over time, with its help, specialists created colony-shaped apple trees.

And both English Kent County plant breeders and specialists from other countries were working on this plant. In 1976 the first specimens of this type of apple tree were obtained.

Features of colony-shaped apple

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

Scientists found out that such unusual characteristics of colony-shaped apple directly depend on a specific gene called Co. In these plants, the branches depart from the trunk at an acute angle, and they grow almost along the wire. In this regard, such apple trees are similar in appearance to pyramidal poplars.

Such an apple tree has a thickened trunk, on which grows many small branches, and on their tops there are flower buds. The skeletal branches of simple apple trees are much more powerful than the side branches of colony-shaped apple trees. Often they are replaced by spearheads, fruiting or ringlets. The shoots of such a plant are quite thick, with short internodes on them. Dwarf varieties are less prone to branching compared to medium-growing (1.

5-3 times) and high-growing (3-4 times). After the tree is 3 to 4 years old, it stops growing side branches. If the apex bud is injured, the growth of the plant will stop, but the side branches will start to grow actively. Therefore, those gardeners who want to grow a colony-shaped apple tree, should do everything to ensure that the growth point of the plant survived at least during the first 2 or 3 years. Blossom and bear fruit such an apple tree will begin to 2 or 3 years of life.

The harvest in the first 5-6 years every year becomes more abundant, but from the 7-8 years of life of the plant it is consistently high, but this is only when the apple tree will be provided with proper care. The colony-shaped apple tree bears fruit not more than 15-20 years, after this period most ringlets die off. But if you grow strong or medium-growing varieties or a tree that has been grafted on seed stock, rejuvenating pruning can be used in these cases, which can significantly extend the life of the apple tree.

Apple trees such as colonnade trees are ideal for owners of small orchards. Thus, instead of one ordinary apple tree, you can plant several dozen colony-shaped ones.

There are 2 different types of colony-shaped apple trees:

  • varieties that have the Co gene;
  • simple varieties that have been grafted onto superdwarf clonal rootstock (they are formed as columns).

Colony-shaped apple tree. How to avoid fakes?

Planning of column-shaped apple trees

What time to plant

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

Planning of this kind of apple tree is advised by specialists in spring time, but it should be done before the opening of buds. If you want, you can plant a seedling in the open ground in the autumn time in the last days of September or the first days of October, the main thing is to have warm weather. For planting it is recommended to buy annual seedlings, not biennials.

The fact is that such plants are comparatively easy to take root and much faster start to grow and bear fruit. When selecting a seedling, you need to pay special attention to its roots, so they should not be rotten. Trees with over-dried roots should also not be purchased. It is best to buy a seedling in a container, its planting can be made even in the summertime. A suitable site should be open and sunny, but it should be remembered that such an apple tree requires protection from strong gusts of wind.

The soil needs to be saturated with nutrients and well permeable water. The ground water on the plot should be at least 200 centimeters deep.

Planning a colony-shaped apple tree in autumn

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

In case you decide to plant a large number of colony-shaped apple trees at once, they should be arranged in rows. So, the distance between the seedlings in the row should not be less than 50 centimeters, and the width of the row spacing should be 100 centimeters. Planting holes, which should have a size of not less than 90x90x90 centimeters, should be prepared half a month before planting.

If this is not done, then after planting and soil precipitation, the root neck will be located under the ground, and this can lead to the death of the seedling.

When digging a hole, it is necessary to discard the top layer of soil, which contains more nutrients, separately from the bottom layer, not allowing them to mix. If the soil is heavy, on the bottom of the hole must be placed a layer of crushed stone mixed with sand for drainage. After that, fertile soil should be poured 3 to 4 buckets of humus (compost), 100 grams of superphosphate and 50 to 100 grams of potassium fertilizer and mix everything. In sour soil is also recommended to pour 100 to 200 grams of dolomite flour.

This soil should be poured into the planting hole and level its surface. After half a month the soil will settle and compact.

Two weeks later the rest of the soil mixture should be poured into the planting hole as a pile. After that, it is necessary to place the apple tree root system directly on this "hill" so that the root neck of the seedling is slightly elevated above the surface of the plot. After the roots will be straightened out, in the hole should be poured the nonfertile soil (from the bottom layer) and good tamp it.

Depart from the trunk 30 centimeters and around it form a roll, the height of which should be 10 to 15 centimeters. Water the planted tree, using 10 to 20 liters of water. After the liquid is absorbed into the soil, its surface should be covered with a layer of mulch (sawdust, peat or chopped grass). If desired, a support can be placed next to the nursling and it can be tied up.

How to plant a colony-shaped apple tree in spring

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

If you plan to plant colony-shaped apple trees in the spring, then it is recommended to prepare the planting holes in the autumn time.

During the winter, the soil will settle, compact, and the fertilizers applied will dissolve. Apple trees planted in such holes take root much faster, and they may even blossom in the same year. The sapling should be planted in spring in the same way as in the autumn.

Spring planting of apple tree

Care for apple trees in spring

Care in spring time

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

In spring time, pruning and treatment of apple trees should be performed for prevention against various harmful insects and diseases. This treatment should be done before the buds open.

At the same time, fertilizers containing nitrogen should be added to the soil. Only 10 buds should be left in the second year's plants. Starting from the third year of life, the load on the tree should be increased not immediately, but gradually, so that the plant leaves the buds in 2 times more than should ripen fruit. Thus, 2 inflorescences should be left on each fruiting link, with another thinning being done in the summer period.

Colonoid apple trees should also be timely watered and topsoil loosening of the rootstock circle should be done.

However, when the tree is grown on a colonic rootstock, the roots of the plant may be injured in the process of loosening the soil. In such a case, it is recommended to mulch the rootstock, not to cover it with a layer of mulch. For this purpose, a quarter of a meter should be taken away from the trunk and grass-siderati should be sown along the circle, which will need systematic mowing.

Summer care

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

Before mid-June, a complex fertilization should be done, for which mineral fertilizers are used. After the ovaries form, it will be necessary to thin them a second time.

As a result, ½ of the ovaries should remain on the tree. After the fruits will be similar in size to the cherry, you need to make sure that each inflorescence was only 2 ovaries. When the apples are similar in size to walnuts, one of the two remaining ovaries should be removed. As a result, only one fruit should grow on one fruit-bearing link.

In the summertime, do not forget to make preventive inspections of the apple trees.

If any pests or diseases are detected, you simply need to take timely measures to treat or get rid of the pests, otherwise you may lose your harvest. Four weeks before the planned date of harvest, all treatments against pests and diseases should be stopped.

With the onset of August, organic fertilizers and those containing nitrogen should be stopped. At this time it is recommended to apply only potash fertilizer to the soil, because it promotes faster maturation of young shoots. For the upper parts of shoots to be safe from frosts in winter time, it is necessary to shorten them by 2/3 to 4 leaves at the very top.

Autumn care

In autumn time when the fruits will be gathered, fertilize the soil and treat against harmful insects and fungus in the bark and within the soil of the root stock. If necessary, pruning shall be carried out for hygienic reasons and then prepare the trees for winter time.

Treatment of apple-tree boles

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

Treat these apple-trees in early spring (before the sap starts to flow) and in autumn (when the leaves fall off) to prevent diseases and pests. The surface of the rootstock should also be treated. Most often gardeners in this case use a solution of Nitraphen or Bordeaux liquid (1%).

This treatment will help to get rid of pests and pathogens of various diseases, which are in the soil of the root zone and in the bark of apple trees. There are those gardeners who use urea solution (7%) for treatment in spring time, which acts as a fungicidal and insecticidal agent, as well as a nitrogen fertilizer.

Watering

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

With this kind of apple trees do not have a tap root that goes deep into the soil, and the root system is surface and within a quarter meter of the trunk, you should water young plants in summer in normal weather once every 3 days. In dry and hot weather, water colony-shaped apple trees every day or once every two days. Mature plants should be watered once or twice every 7 days.

From the second half of June, watering is slightly reduced, and from the beginning of August, no watering at all, because they must have time to finish the formation of flower buds and growth, and prepare for wintering.

For the soil does not dry out too quickly and its surface was not dense crust, cover the root circle with a layer of mulch (straw) or sow it with grass seedlings. It is recommended to water such apple trees by drip irrigation, and the supply of moisture to the root system should be dosed. However, once every 4 weeks, it is necessary to produce abundant watering, so that the soil could soak to the depth at which the roots lie. Once every 2 weeks in the evening after the sun has gone down, you should water the crowns of the plants well with a hose.

Fertilizer

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

As this tree produces a very large number of apples, it absorbs a lot of nutrients from the soil. Therefore, it is necessary to fertilize such a plant during the whole period of intensive growth. In the spring time, organic fertilizers should be added to the soil. For this purpose, both fermented chicken manure and slurry are used. For the tree to get the necessary amount of nitrogen, you can spray it with a solution of urea (7%), but this should be done in 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 you want, you can feed the plants 2 more times outside the foliar method and use urea solution (0.1%) as well.

For the peak of intensive growth (from the beginning to the middle of June) the trees need complex mineral fertilizers. From the beginning of August, organic fertilizers should no longer be used. During this period, apple tree colonnades need potassium as it promotes rapid growth of the upper parts of the shoots.

Wintering of apple tree colonnades

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

In the beginning of autumn, young apple tree colonnades should be covered well with brushwood or wood shavings. Remember to use only dry covering material, and it must be protected from rodents. It is not allowed to cover plants with straw. In case if the root circle is mulched with straw, it should be removed in autumn, because it is simply adored by various rodents. When snow cover appears, snow should be applied to the base of the apple tree trunk.

How do I winterize apple trees with colonnades

Trimming of apple trees with colonnades

What time do you prune them

A true apple tree should not have any branches; therefore, it does not require pruning to form a crown. Only the side branches should be trimmed at the start of summer or after the leaves have died.

How to trim a "column-shaped" apple tree

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

You should remember one of the main principles in apple tree pruning: The more branches you cut, the stronger the growth. So, for example, you cut about ½ of a branch leaving 3 or 4 eyes. After a while, three or four vigorous shoots will grow out of these eyes.

If you cut off about 1/3 of a branch and there are 7 or 8 eyes on it, it will produce 7 or 8 medium-sized shoots. If trimmed properly, the growth of the apple tree will grow 10-15 centimeters every year and 2 or 3 side buds will appear.

When you cut back the branches, you should not forget that the central branch should not be affected. Otherwise, the tree will actively grow branches after losing its growing point.

In the early spring of a tree in its first year, all side branches should be cut off so that only two buds remain on each branch.

In the next 2 or 3 years, you should be involved in shaping the fruiting links from the young shoots. Those side shoots that are not needed should be carefully cut back while they are still green. The reason is that it takes relatively longer for the wounds on the woody shoots to heal.

Spring pruning

Trim the apple tree

Before the sap starts to flow, a formation pruning should be done. In the first year of life, all side branches should be pruned with 2 buds left on them.

A sanitary pruning is also carried out, during which diseased, crossed branches as well as those affected by severe frost in winter are removed.

In the second year of life, pruning is carried out to form fruiting links. To do this, of those 2 shoots that have grown on the previous year's branch that was cut off, the one that is more upright should be pruned, leaving only 2 buds on it. The horizontally arranged shoot will begin to bear fruit this year, and the cut-off one will produce two vigorous shoots.

In the third year, the branches that have borne fruit in the past year should be removed.

The remaining branches should be pruned in the same manner as in the previous year. Remember that a fruiting link is capable of functioning for no more than 3 or 4 years. When this time has elapsed it should be cut out into a ring.

If the apex growth point has died, it is advisable to prune the branch and only two buds should be left. Wait until lateral branches will grow out of these.

Only 1 of these branches should be left and it should be upright. This branch will become a replacement branch. The remaining side branches should be cut back onto a stump (not a ring) and the stump should be the same length as a simple ringlet.

Autumn pruning

In autumn, pruning should only be done when very necessary.

Propagation of colony-shaped apple trees

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

To propagate colony-shaped apple trees, the method of grafting a variety cuttings onto the rootstock that is most suitable.

However, experience is needed to do this successfully. You can also propagate with seeds, but this will take too much time and effort. Also, not all apple trees that have grown from seed are colony-shaped. Propagate such a plant, experts advise air branches. Select a branch at the very beginning of spring, the thickness of which should be similar to a pencil.

Then an annular bark incision is made at the base, the width of which should be 5 mm. After that, moisten a absorbent cotton in Heteroauxin and wrap it around the incision for 24 hours. Next, moistened peat should be used to wrap the incision, and the area should be covered with a black polyethylene bag, which should be fixed so that no air can get under it. Do not let the peat dry out completely. In the fall time, roots should grow in the place of the incision.

After that, the branch is separated from the parent plant and planted in the soil. The probability of success of such propagation is 50:50.

Growing seedlings of this kind of apple trees is not a simple task. For this reason, it is recommended to buy them from proven nurseries, and the seedlings should be transported correctly.

Pests of colony-shaped apple trees

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

Green and plantain aphids, sawfly, glassworm, red mite, fruit moth, moth, leafminer, honeycreeper, mottled scab, currant moth, and currant mite may well settle on colony-shaped apple trees, fruit and bark leafminers, fruit and fruit moths, various moths, rowan moth, gypsy, oak-leaved and ringed moths, blood aphid and red-headed aphid, bark beetle, western gypsy bark beetle, sapwood, pear tubeworms and other pests.

Insecticides can be used to control the pests, and trapping belts made of corrugated paper are useful (they prevent pests from walking up the trunk).

Diseases of colony-shaped apple trees

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

These apple trees suffer from exactly the same diseases as simple ones. More often than not, colony-shaped apple trees get diseases such as: Proliferation, or witch's broom, bitter fruit rot, mosaic, mosaic ringworm, flycatcher, powdery mildew, milkvetch, crotch blight, common cancer, scab, branch blight, fruit rot, subcutaneous viral stain, rubbery mildew, rust, fruit vitreousness, flattened branches, black cancer and citosporosis.

Main varieties with photos and description

The varieties are divided according to their growth, namely, they are divided into strong-growing, medium-growing (semi-dwarf), and dwarf. And they are also divided by the time of ripening the fruit into late (winter), medium-ripening (autumn) and early (summer).

The following are the varieties divided by ripening time.

Summer varieties

On these plants, ripe apples can be harvested from the last days of July, until the first days of September. These apples are eaten fresh or made into jams, marmalades, compotes, etc. The shelf life of such apples is comparatively short.

The most popular varieties:

Medoc

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

This semi-dwarf variety has a high yield and is resistant to frost, diseases and pests.

The yellowish-white apples have a fairly thick rind and a juicy and grainy flesh with a distinctive honey flavor. On average, each apple weighs 100-250 grams. The plants can range in height from 200 to 250 centimeters.

President

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

This semi-dwarf compact variety is high yielding and resistant to frost, pests and diseases. The fruits are very fragrant, either pale yellow or pale green in color, in some cases showing a slight blush of light pink.

On average, apples weigh between 150 and 200 grams. The fine-grained flesh is juicy and tender.

Vasyugan

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

This productive variety is resistant to frost, pests and diseases. The shape of the red-striped, fragrant fruits is conical and the taste of the flesh is sour-sweet, with well-defined subcutaneous points. The cream colored flesh is soft and juicy.

Its average fruit mass is 140-200 grams.

Dialogue

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

The medium-growing variety is characterized by its productivity and resistance to frost, pests and diseases. The apples are deep yellow in color and are not very large in size, but they are quite juicy. The shape of the apples is flat.

Ostankino

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

The medium-grown variety is resistant to pests and diseases.

The fragrant, sour-sweet fruits have a light green color with a blush that has a fuzzy, blurred shape. Juicy apples can weigh from 100 to 220 grams.

Also popular among gardeners are varieties such as: Chervonets, Luch, Ideal, Raika, Flamingo, Gala, Cheremosh, Iksha, Green Noise, etc.

Autumn varieties

The fruits of these varieties ripen throughout the fall. They are eaten fresh or made into various preparations for the winter.

Keep such apples relatively short (up to January at most). Popular varieties are:

Malukha

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

This dwarf variety is among those with the highest taste qualities. The truncated-conical apples of the dessert type are large in size. They are orange-yellow or deep yellow in color and weigh between 150 and 250 grams. The tough, glossy rind is quite thin and the yellow, fragrant flesh is fine-grained.

This variety is high-yielding and fast-fruiting.

Jean

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

The variety is high-yielding and frost-resistant. The rich red fruits can weigh 80-200 grams. The sour-sweet flesh is firm and juicy. Apples can last until January.

Triumph

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

A medium-grown variety. The apples have a rich dark red color and have a striped blush on their surface. The shiny rind is quite dense. The snow-white crispy flesh is fine-grained. It has a dessert sweet taste with a slight sourness.

On average, the apples weigh 100-150 grams.

Arbat

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

The variety has a high yield and resistance to frost, pests and diseases. Fruits ripen in the last days of September or first days of November. The richly cherry-colored, glossy, medium-sized apples have a sour-sweet, juicy flesh. The average fruit weight is 100 to 120 grams.

Jedzenu

This strong-growing variety is scab-resistant and winter-hardy. There are red streaks on the surface of the yellow colored apples. The average fruit weight is 150 grams. Fine-grained dense yellowish-green flesh has a sour-sweet taste. The taste qualities are high.

Also quite popular are such varieties as: Kumir, Ladoga, Titania, Teleimon, Melba, etc.

Winter varieties

The apples of these varieties ripen from the mid-autumn period. They can persist into spring. Popular varieties are:

Amber Necklace (Amber)

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

The medium-grown variety is yielding and frost-resistant. Large greenish-yellow apples have a blush.

The fine-grained, fragrant flesh is juicy and sour-sweet.

Valuta

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

A medium-sized, early-fruiting variety that is high yielding and frost and scab-resistant. The fruits are large (weighing approximately 200 grams) and have a deep yellow color with a red barrel. Snow-white sweet juicy flesh is quite fragrant.

Moscow necklace

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

This self-fertile variety is high yielding and resistant to frost, pests and diseases.

The fruits are quite large dark red. The skin is dense. The sweet, juicy flesh has a slight acidity. On average, the apples weigh about 170 grams.

Bolero

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

Fruits are large and average about 200 grams.

The hard white flesh is juicy.

Esenia

Colony-shaped apple tree: planting and care, pruning and propagation, description of varieties and photos

It is highly resistant to frost and scab. Large apples (average weight 170 grams) have a bluish patina of wax on the surface.

Also quite popular are varieties such as: Constellation, Snow White, Senator, Trident, Victoria, Barguzin, Girlyanda, White Eagle, Iskorka, Peasant, etc.

Sorts of colonnade apple trees for the Moscow region

In the Moscow region will feel the best apple varieties such as: Moscow necklace, Vasyugan, Valuta and Malyukha.

Colonoid apple tree varieties for Siberia

Trades that can withstand severe frosts (up to minus 40 degrees) will be suitable here. They include Iksha, Barguzin, Peasant and President. At the same time, the variety Vasyugan can tolerate frosts up to minus 42 degrees. They are suitable for cultivation in the Urals, Siberia, the Far East and near Moscow.

Coloniferous apple tree varieties

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