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The Use of Feathered Nursery Trees combined with High Planting Densities

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

December 24, 2013

The use of feathered trees combined with high planting densities and minimal pruning has resulted in a significant improvement in yield of new orchards over the first 5 years. The larger the initial caliper of the tree at planting, the greater the growth and yield in the first 4-5 years. The greater the number of feathers at planting, the greater the yield especially in the second and third years. Feathered nursery trees are a critical component of most high-density apple planting systems including the Tall Spindle. As the benefits of highly feathered trees were discovered, it became necessary to develop nursery management techniques to stimulate lateral branch development. This desired product led to the development of the two-year branched tree, the two-year knip tree, leaf removal/pinching techniques, fertigation and the use of plant growth regulators such as Promalin, Maxcel, and Tiberon. As these practices and new products have been implemented by nurseries around the world, the quality (caliper, tree height, feather positioning along the trunk, crotch angles, number and length of feathers) of nursery trees has improved considerably over the last 20 years. The number of feathers on US grown nursery trees has also improved significantly in the last decade. Most nurseries used a single spray of Promalin combined with leaf removal to obtain trees with 3-5 feathers. In the spring of 2009 a new branching chemical, Tiberon, was registered, and was used commercially in the Northwest of the US. Its use significantly improved the quality of apple nursery trees. In 2010 we evaluated the use of Tiberon in NY and found that Tiberon sprays to Macoun trees under New York climatic conditions significantly reduced tree height and caliper, and resulted in poor tree architecture. Our results with multiple applications of Maxcel in 2010 and 2011 have been very promising. For the coming years, it appears that the potential use of Maxcel if applied multiple times (3-4 sprays of 500ppm) will help US nurserymen to continue producing highly feathered apple trees similar to the ones produced in the last 3 years with Tiberon (Fig. 5). In Europe, Italian nurserymen use Maxcel for chemical branching of knip-boom trees. Depending on cultivar, Italian nurserymen apply from 3 to 4 Maxcel treatments with spray intervals of 5-7 days depending on temperatures after application. A Maxcel spray works betterfor them when it is followed by a 3 hour period of at least 18°C (65°F). They prefer the use of Promalin to Maxcel only for branching of Red Delicious types. Maxcel has also been shown to be a useful tool if planting whips or poorly feathered trees in NY orchards when the leader is not headed and a Maxcel spray of 500ppm is applied to the leader from the tip down to 24 inches above the soil at 10-14 days after bud break (Miranda Sazo and Robinson, unpublished). The importance of having highly branched trees with good height and caliper is of such critical importance to the success of newly planted high density orchards that continued research of Maxcel rates and timings under different growing conditions (in the west and east in the United States) is very important. It will result in improved techniques for chemical branching of nursery apple trees. There is an opportunity for Maxcel to become a good tool for chemical branching in the US.

The Use of Plant Growth Regulators for Branching of Nursery Trees in NY State (pdf; 6098KB)

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Apples

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Nectarines

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Upcoming Events

2024 Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings

Event Offers DEC Credits

April 25, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 1 of 4
Newark, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology and pest management, at a new location each month.


Event Offers DEC Credits

May 30, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 2 of 4
Lockport, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, Robert Hadad, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology, pest management, food safety and water quality, at a new location each month.


Event Offers DEC Credits

June 27, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 3 of 4
Penn Yan, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, Robert Hadad, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology, pest management, food safety and water quality, at a new location each month.


Event Offers DEC Credits

July 25, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 4 of 4
Mexico, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, Robert Hadad, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology, pest management, food safety and water quality, at a new location each month.

View 2024 Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings Details

Apple Social

July 16, 2024 : Orleans County - Apple Social
Medina, NY

Please join us at this casual networking event for all apple industry folks from Western NY, proudly sponsored by Valent. There will just a brief introduction of the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, and from each of the four specialists.


July 31, 2024 : Wayne County - Apple Social
Williamson, NY

Please join us at this casual networking event for all apple industry folks from Western NY, proudly sponsored by Valent. There will just a brief introduction of the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, and from each of the four specialists.

View Apple Social Details

2nd Annual WNY Fruit Grower Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 13, 2024
Medina, NY

We are excited to announce the second annual Western New York Fruit Grower Tour, the premier fruit tour of the northeast brought to you by Cornell Cooperative Extension's Lake Ontario Fruit Program and Lake Ontario Ag Consulting, LLC!  Located in Orleans County, this orchard field day will highlight new and existing products, chemistries, practices, technologies & equipment that shape the orchard industry today. The Western NY Fruit Grower Tour will again combine two past orchard tour events, the LOF Summer Fruit Tour and the Wayne County Fruit Grower Tour, giving industry members the opportunity to conveniently showcase their product offerings to ONE unified group at ONE time and place!

View 2nd Annual WNY Fruit Grower Tour Details

Announcements

Scaffolds podcast

Many of you probably read Art Agnello's statewide tree fruit updates and recommendations newsletter, "Scaffolds". Dr. Monique Rivera is bringing it back, but in a new audio version. Episode one was recorded this week, and is now available for free online at https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/scaffolds


NYS Tree Decline Survey

Your answers could help find the solution to tree decline in the orchard.
NYS Tree Decline Survey


Save the Date! - Scroll down for Upcoming Events

Have you missed a meeting recently? Scroll down for available recordings or pdf links or visits our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/LakeOntarioFruitProgram

2024 Events:

18 Jun - Postponed WNY Bilingual Soil Health & Beneficial Fungi Meeting - Check back for future reschedule date!

20 Jun - 2024 Virtual Orchard Meetup Series 'Water Wisdom" Smart Watering: Practices for Irrigation Management - 7PM, Zoom

25 Jun - Virtual IPM Orchard Scout Training 2 - 1:30 - 3pm, Zoom

27 Jun - Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meeting 3_4 - 6:30pm-8:30PM, Penn Yan

27 Jun - 2024 Virtual Orchard Meetup Series 'Water Wisdom" Water Wisdom Unplugged: Panelist Q&A - 7PM, Zoom

29 Jun - NYS Honeyberry Conference - 8:30am - 4:30pm, Mexico, Space is limited, register now!

16 July - Apple Social - 6-9 PM, LynOaken Farm Market & Winery, Medina.

25 Jul - Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meeting 4_4 - 6:30pm-8:30PM, Mexico

31 July - Apple Social - 6-9 PM, VanAcker Farms, Williamson.

13 Aug - 2nd Annual WNY Fruit Grower Tour - Orleans County

17 Aug - Annual Hispanic Summer Tour - Orleans County, Details to follow!

Feb 4-5, 2025 - Western NY Fruit Conference - DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Rochester



Food Safety Virtual Office Hours

Cornell Institute of Food Safety "Virtual Office Hours", Tuesdays Noon to 1pm https://cals.cornell.edu/institute-for-food-safety/resources/virtual-office-hours

Past recorded virtual office hours can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZJs5b7KUuvfcquH3ZtQHo5dSmF2m5MdQ


Webinar Recordings & Additional Meeting Materials

Check out the recordings of some recent webinars and/or conference materials from in person events: Recordings and Playlists are available at https://www.youtube.com/c/LakeOntarioFruitProgram

2024 Virtual Orchard Meetup Series - Water Wisdom: 
1/4 - Trends In Water Availability
2/4 - The Role of Water In Tree Fruit Physiology & Quality
3/4 - Smart Watering: Practices for Irrigation Management


2024 8-12 mm Thinning Meeting

2024 Capital Region & Western NY Petal Fall Thinning Meeting

2024 Statewide Pink Meeting

2024 Cornell Statewide Frost Protection Webinar

2024 Winter Fruit Webinars playlist on the NYS IPM Program YouTube Channel

2nd Annual Lake Ontario Fruit Program's Winter Fruit Conference - 2024 pdfs

PACMAN Details and Resources, Meeting Recording Links below:
Developers Conference for Precision Crop Load Management of Apples Playlist - 2024
PACMAN Briefing - 2023








Pollinator Resouces

Now available Pollinator Resource Links


Meeting Recordings Now Available

Did you miss the recent meeting?  Check and see if we recorded it and added it to our website or Lake Ontario Fruit Program YouTube Channel.

Honeycrisp Meetup recordings available here.

Why are my trees growing so poorly? recording available here.

Additional Recorded Webinars listing with recording and resource link are available at
https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=838&crumb=crops|crops|apples|crop*38



New Publication on Growing Pawpaws

Are you a fan of pawpaws? These custardy fruits can be hard to come across, so this guide provides information on how to grow your own pawpaw from seed, and how to care for grafted seedlings. Pdf on growing now available.​ https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=799&crumb=crops|crops|unusual_fruit|crop*50

New Weed Management Technology Survey

Want to move away from herbicide reliance? Are you using novel technologies to manage weeds? We want to know about it to inform our weed science research. A team of weed scientists from University of California Davis, Oregon State University, and Cornell University are asking berry, tree fruit, tree nut, and vine crop growers to take 5 to 10 minutes and answer this short and anonymous survey. Weed Technology Survey link: https://cornell.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bEpfAijoP7puQDP

For more information on this survey please visit http://blogs.cornell.edu/swd1/2020/12/02/new-weed-management-technology/


Pollinator Webinar Series - Summer 2020

The Pollinator Webinar Series presented by Penn State cover bee health and pollination services.



Bloom Pesticides for Pollinator Health

A reference table created by Janet van Zoeren and Anna Wallis, is now available at https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=711&crumb=pests|pests.

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