By their nature, apple trees are durable. In fact, the useful age of fruit trees in our gardens does not exceed 30-40 years. Commercial fruiting of fruit trees occurs only at the age of 6-8 years, and in some varieties even later. Therefore, it is very important to bring the productive period of life of apple fruit trees as close as possible.
Recently, interest in fruit plants grown on low-growing (dwarf and semi-dwarf) rootstocks has sharply increased.
Apple trees grafted onto low-growing rootstocks have a number of features:
* the root system of low-growing rootstocks in the soil is located compactly, lies superficially, the bulk of the roots does not penetrate deeper than 60 cm.Therefore, such trees require constant support that will support the apple tree in windy weather, when plants can be turned out of the soil;
* the root system of low-growing rootstocks is located superficially, so it is more prone to freezing. To avoid this, the trunk circle for the winter is mulched with peat or sawdust, and also covered with snow;
* in dry periods, low-growing apple trees need watering;
* the tree trunk circle in low-growing apple trees should be clean, without weeds.
At the same time, low-growing apple trees have a number of advantages:
* low-growing rootstocks have the ability to restrain the growth of plants grafted on them - up to 2.5 meters (dwarf) and up to 3.5 meters (semi-dwarf);
* apple trees on a dwarf rootstock enter fruiting early (2-3 years after grafting). Fruits in such plantations with higher commercial qualities (apples are larger, brighter colored, of better taste, but with a slightly reduced keeping period;
* yield in dwarf plantations per unit area is higher than in ordinary plantations (instead of one on a vigorous rootstock, you can plant 2-3 on a dwarf rootstock);
* it is more convenient to care for low trees, to harvest (fruits are less injured during harvesting). The effectiveness of protective measures during treatment with pesticides increases (the consumption of pesticides decreases, the access of the working fluid to all parts of the crown improves);
* due to the more superficial occurrence of the bulk of the roots, dwarf apple trees can be grown in areas with a close occurrence of groundwater, as well as on dense clay and pebble soil layers;
* low-growing apple trees with a compact, well-lit crown and superficial root system can be cultivated in small backyard plots with plants more densely planted to each other.
Weak apple trees grow in one place for 15-20 years and life expectancy largely depends on the location, pre-planting soil preparation, variety.
Trees on low-growing rootstocks are placed in a well-lit area protected from the wind.
The best soils for such apple trees are fairly loose, nutrient-rich, well-moisturized, light to medium loam. In areas with less fertile soil, the gardener himself improves the soil by introducing organic and mineral fertilizers directly into the planting pits.
The planting pit is dug 100 x 60 cm in size.Most of the upper fertile soil layer removed from the planting pit is mixed with fertilizers (superphosphate - 0.4-0.8 kg, potassium chloride - 0.2-0.4 kg (or ash - 0.5-1 kg), humus (or peat) - 3-4 buckets, fresh manure is not used). A stake is driven into the center of the pit, the finished mixture is poured into the pit in the form of a mound, on top of which, with a layer of 3-5 cm, the top layer of soil is poured without fertilizers. Planting is carried out on this hill in such a way that the root system of the seedling does not come into contact with the mixture of soil and is covered only with the top layer of soil without fertilizers.
With a close standing of groundwater or a close location of dense layers of clay or pebbles, planting is carried out on bulk hills with a height of at least 50 cm and a lower diameter of at least 1.5-2 m, using imported soil for the construction of hills. Otherwise, the technique of landing on hills is similar to landing in a landing hole.
Weak apple trees easily tolerate a buried planting, forming new roots on a trunk covered with soil. It is only necessary to ensure that the grafting site does not turn out to be buried in the soil, otherwise the grafted variety can go to its own roots and dwarfism will be lost. The distance from the grafting site to the soil surface should be at least 5 cm.
Shallow planting of an apple tree is undesirable, because this leads to drying of the roots and, as a result, poor development or even death of the tree.
The tree is well watered, the trunk circle is mulched with peat or dry soil. The tree is tied to a stake.
In order to form the crown of an apple tree in the spring, before bud break, an annual tree is cut with a pruner at a height of 30-40 cm from the soil level. Cover the cut with garden pitch.
It should be noted that apple trees in the first years of life grow as fast as vigorous ones. Growth weakens only at the onset of fruiting. Subsequently, with abundant fruiting, it is necessary to greatly cut off the growth. Then the tree does not age longer and the fruits do not shrink.
In general, the agricultural technique for growing low-growing trees is the same as for vigorous ones. It includes formative and sanitary pruning, watering, fertilizing, protecting plants from pests and diseases.
Thus, low-growing apple trees combine winter hardiness, early maturity, productivity, ease of care and compact plant sizes.