Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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not impossible to estimate potential numbers of fruit on each tree. "Today, our ability to accurately estimate fruiting buds within the tree allows us to manage bud numbers by pruning off excess fruit buds and only keeping those needed to set an adequate crop. High tree density, smaller tree size, fewer numbers of buds per tree, and improved uniformity of trees makes it possible to more easily count a representative number of trees per variety to determine the proper bud load needed to set a full crop for each apple variety. "By pruning to a specified bud number we can start the process of fruit thinning to better target the specific fruit sizes of the highest returning fruit. By reducing the number of fruit buds on the tree early through pruning, we can reduce competition among flowers and fruit, resulting in increased resources for the remaining fruit and improved fruit size and quality." • "All of our wind machines are Orchard-Rite ." ® —BOB BAILEY Orchard View Farms The Dalles, Oregon Terence Robinson ( % $ ! !%" !! #" $ ! # % ! " ' %" " #" " " "# % ! "! # ! " $ & " #" " " !" " # !! % #" " " " ! ! #" " " ! ! $ ! # ) number, wire by wire and branch by branch. Their thin tree walls have no apples hidden away behind branches and leaves, so sun exposure is uniform. Operating in an arid environment, they supply each tree with just the right amount of water and fertilizer so they can size apples very precisely. They use shade and mulches to manipulate the light. Robinson said that eastern growers can learn from what the best western growers do, and need to adopt more disciplined practices. While it is doubtful they can find the labor to do all the branch tying, pruning, and hand thinning this totally disciplined approach requires, or the money to build those sophisticated trellises, eastern growers can impose discipline and reach quality targets. "There are three management practices that have a large effect on crop load—pruning, chemical thinning, and hand thinning," Robinson said. "Precision crop load management uses all three management approaches to adjust crop load." ( % " $ " Precise pruning Steve Hoying, Cornell University's horticulturist at its Hudson Valley Lab in Highland, New York, offered precision pruning as a feasible first step to adjusting crop load and achieving higher profit levels. It starts with setting a target—knowing how many bushels per acre to shoot for and making each tree do its exact share. That's easier to do than it used to be. "Today, because of the adoption of full dwarf trees planted at densities reaching and exceeding 1,000 trees per acre, we have the ability to use pruning to better produce the crop load and fruit quality we desire," he said. "In the past, lack of uniformity of the trees and the massive absolute number of buds on a tree made accurately counting buds impractical if ! $ ! ! ! $ ! $ " & ! & & ! & #" ! " !& " #! !! " " % $ " % " ! ) % ( #)" " & ! # &' *( !! Cascade Wind Machine Service &$%)$ ' # # ( ! ' !! # $& # *( For your nearest representative: GOOD FRUIT GROWER May 15, 2013 33

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