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Planting Methods

The decision of initiating an apple orchard should not be taken lightly. On the contrary there are many aspects needed to be considered. Firstly, the area should comply with some crucial conditions, for example low temperatures during winter time as to end the lethargy of the ''eyes'' of the apple tree and the pear tree (1200-1500 hours with temperature < 80 C). In the seaside plain areas and in the islands of our country the apple tree many times does not bear fruit satisfactorily due to the weather conditions of the previous winter. Therefore, the trees develop only in the vegetal and not in the blossoming manner. The weather conditions of the months July and August are of a great importance, too. The intense sunshine accompanied by high temperatures, degrade the quality of the apples while the high temperatures during nightime (> 25 0C ) in the month of September restrain the skin of the apple from obtaining its red colour.

The application of satisfying and efficient quantity of water for irrigation purposes, is vital to the cultivation of apple - pear trees. Depending on the age, the type of the soil, the vegetal stage and the existing temperatures, the watering demand goes accordingly. The irrigation method plays a significant role on the natural attributions of the soil on the point of the rhizosphere. In heavy soil the irrigation method of drops is recommended, while in lightly- sandy soil the use of micro sprayer is more advisable.

The soil preparation includes deep ploughing, the flatenning- where this is required - depending on the irrigation method and last but not least, a cultivator so the planting of trees as well as the installation of the palmette equipment can be achieved easier.

The use of anti-hailing nets is considered absolutely necessary as to obtain a modern, intensive and commercial orchard. Apart from getting protection from hail, the creation of a micro climate in the orchard is achieved with a certain percentage of shadow ~ 12 %, which aims to the decrease of sunburns to the trading fruit.

The choice of the variety of the rootstock is essential to the financial result of the orchard. The apple varieties are divided into spur type and into standard type. In the first category we find a very satisfying bearing of fruit, small development and the existance of frequent problems caused by the intense fruit sun exposure. These varieties are advised to be grafted to the rootstocks of M26 and MM106. These kind of varieties are included in the Red Delicious variety group, which are also characterised by different percentanges of nanism, dwarfish. The category of standard includes varieties like Fuji, Gala, Johnagold etc. greedy varietes with peculiarities on pruning as to achieve trading quality and quantity of fruit. The grafting into M9 stocks is advised, no matter the method of the cultivation.

The choice of the planting method is the next crucial question needed to be answered. Worldwide, the main problems faced, are the climate changes, the high production cost and the decrease of the cultivator's prices. So, we require an annual stable production from our orchard, high fruit quality and the least possible working hours per stremma (quarter of acre). It is not a coincidence that the 70% of the production cost is affected by the workforce. The two first goals are achieved with the planting of commercial and quality varieties to dwarf rootstocks. The proper pruning with constant renewals every year and the spindle shaped tree (little cypress-kiparissaki) help into achieving a stable and of a great quality production. The required working hours are determined by the tasks of spacing out, the harvesting and the pruning. Regarding the spacing out, it is claimed that the option of chemical spacing out is more prefered as the outcome is excellent when is followed by a quick correctional spacing out (made by hand). The harvesting, on the other hand, is performed easier with the use of hydraulic platforms  and with the controlling of the height in the fruit bearing zone, which zone is the result of the used rootstocks and of course the method of pruning.

 We highly recommend to the cultivator to be advised by a skilled agronomists with technical knowledge and long experience on apple and pear cultivars. For example, an agronomist with working field of 10 different types of cultivation, is not likely to know all the peculiaries of each cultivation individually. Therefore, it is up to the cultivator to select the most appropriate skilled  agronomist.

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