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Half standard vs. bush apple tree on mm.106

 
Scarlet Hamilton
Posts: 28
Location: UK
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I've been searching for pictures of mature apple trees and trying to work out what the best pruning form will be for the 2 that I've ordered for later planting this year. The cultivars are chivers delight and sunset both on mm.106 rootstock. I'm completely new to apple trees and there is only so much you can understand from reading. I've seen a basic diagram of the different pruning forms but actual pictures would be great, more specifically pictures that show either half-standard trees or bush trees that are in a forest garden situation as mine will be. Chivers delight apparently is upright in growth and Sunset is supposed to be compact. I figured that information might be useful in deciding what form to initially prune for. I'd like to utilize the space beneath the canopy as much as possible so a half standard sounds like a better idea plus I'm young, small and light enough so ladders don't bother me. On the other hand, it seems like everyone goes for a bush form so I wonder if there are other benefits to that apart from the fruit being easier to reach? Like I said before I'm small so I'd need ladders for both forms.

Does anyone have any experience with both forms? What are all the advantages of each?
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1556
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Hi Scarlet,

I have recently just bought and planted 4 apple trees on M106 and have been through exactly the same thought process as you.

In our meadow area I'm aiming for a clear trunk to around 5ft then spreading branches - basically your traditional old fashioned orchard style. In our case the shape is dictated by needing to get the ride-on mower around them easily. Elsewhere I'll be growing taller trees - essentially a vertical leader with fruiting branches trained downwards below the horizontal to encourage heavy fruiting. This is a style I first saw in the "Permaculture Orchard" video recently and looks easy to maintain and produces decent yields.

Outside the garden/orchard areas I'll be planting nearby roadside verges and hedges with trees on M25 and letting them do their own thing. I'll be propagating my own rootstocks from next year so it won't cost me anything but time.
 
Scarlet Hamilton
Posts: 28
Location: UK
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Thanks for your reply. I will check out the permaculture orchard dvd.

I've already got a plum tree (planted by the previous tenant) and to my knowledge it has never been pruned. I like the idea of having a few pruned trees and one left to do it's own thing.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3645
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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Michael Cox wrote:This is a style I first saw in the "Permaculture Orchard" video recently and looks easy to maintain and produces decent yields.


Great DVD.
 
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