Good Fruit Grower

February 2015

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38 FEBRUARY 1, 2015 Good Fruit Grower Pictures from the international apple machinery show in Italy. Photos by Richard Lehnert I nterpoma, the trade show held every other year in Bolzano, Italy, is, as the name suggests, all about apples—an international trade show devoted to apple production, storage, and marketing. The show last November 20-22—the ninth since it began in 1998—drew 423 exhibitors from 20 nations and 17,974 visitors from more than 70 countries, a 12.5 percent increase over 2012. "The success of Interpoma 2014 confirms Trentino-South Tyrol as the homeland of the apple," promoters said. walls involved using a sicklebar hedger to shape the trees. He tested the concept at different times of the year, find- ing he got various effects whether the pruning was done in dormant season or in June, July, or August. The timing affects the amount of regrowth, the setting of new flower buds, and the amount of fruit removed by the operation. Repeated cuts over the years promote new shoots and buds near the trunk. With the loss of carbaryl in 2008, flower thinning became "crucial," he said. The new fruit- ing walls, with their short branches, are uniquely well- suited to mechanical thinning with the Darwin string thinner. Dorigoni has used that extensively. "The goal of mechanical pruning is not to replace hand pruning, but to reduce the number of hours needed for pruning," Dorigoni said. "We need to reduce pruning by 50 to 100 hours of hand work in the winter." Hedging does not eliminate the need for dormant season pruning, but it reduces the amount needed. To reduce it more, Dorigoni developed a machine to create "fruiting walls with windows." While the sicklebar was shaping the outside of the wall, special short cutters worked inside the tree, to remove limbs closer to the trunk. By moving these short cutters up or down year to year, he can achieve renewal pruning of all branches every other year. Another sicklebar mows off the top of the tree to the desired height. Dorigoni thinks "fruiting walls with windows" has great promise and is working to patent and commercial- ize the hedger he uses to do it. The thin canopies of the fruiting walls reduce shading and improve fruit quality, especially lower on the tree, by letting in more sunlight. Moreover, they allow better access to the trees for either mechanical or chemical weed control. Dorigoni also believes it's possible to move larger trees with longer, low-scaffold limbs in the direction of fruiting walls by repeatedly removing large limbs and gradually hedging them back. It is possible, he said, to move fruit in closer to the trunk. • Alberto Dorigoni developed this hedger to prune trees. The long, upright sicklebar shapes the tree, while the short sicklebars run closer to the trunk, cutting "windows" for light. The top sicklebar keeps trees at top trellis wire height. Interpoma IMPRESSIONS Above, large booth areas and clever displays are features of Interpoma. At left, sprayer manufacturers think up novel ways of getting the spray to the tree. Single row net covers provide protection from hail and insects. Good food, good beer, and wine served by exhibitors give Interpoma a festival atmosphere.

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