Features and description of columnar apple varieties
An apple tree is a large and sprawling tree: even grafted onto a dwarf rootstock, it requires a huge space on the site, which for owners of modest household plots always creates serious problems (if you want to grow a full-fledged tree, you have to limit either the garden, or the recreation area, or both, other).
Fortunately, about 40 years ago, scientists were able to create and consolidate a fundamentally new modification of the apple tree, which received, due to the unusual shape of an upward-looking crown, completely devoid of side branches, called columnar. An overview of the best varieties of this tree read on.
TOP-9 of the best varieties of columnar apple trees and their description
All apple-trees belonging to the columnar type have an almost vertical crown, so that in appearance they resemble pyramidal poplars. It turns out that this feature has a genetic nature and is associated with the presence of the special gene Co in the tree genotype. It is this gene that provides the formation of side branches at a very sharp angle to the trunk, almost parallel to it, making it seem that numerous fruits literally cover the tree with a dense multi-tiered layer.Active breeding work on the cultivation of colon-shaped apple trees has been carried out since 1976, and today this variety is represented by more than a hundred different varieties of this fruit tree, so different from each other in terms of growth strength and other criteria that they have already been divided into separate groups.
Did you know? Colon-shaped apple trees owe their appearance to a random natural mutation, which people paid attention to and tried to fix. So, in 1964, in the province of British Columbia (Canada), on a regular adult Macintosh apple tree, a vertical but strongly leafy and fruit-bearing branch grew, working on which, English breeders managed to grow a new tree with a similar structure, giving rise to the first columnar variety, named Leader.
In particular, the following types of columnar apple trees are distinguished:
- super dwarf.
The President is one of the first varieties of a columnar half-dwarf apple tree, bred by domestic breeders. Created as a result of crossing the aforementioned Leader with a medium-sized variety of copious. Refers to early ripening, the fruit has large (up to 200 g and above), sweet with a pronounced acidity and rich aroma. The shape of the apples is round, slightly flattened, the skin color is light yellow with a spectacular pink barrel and a glossy sheen. The pulp is beige, with fine grain.Even in bad weather and the absence of pollinators, the variety is distinguished by fruit setting during flowering. Maturing dates are early (late August or early September). It is appreciated due to its good winter hardiness (at the level of cultivation in the Central region for which the variety is intended), good immunity to diseases and pests, excellent yield indicators and excellent tasting assessment (from 4.8 to 5 points on a five-point scale). Thanks to a rather dense skin, the fruits are practically not damaged during transportation. Among the shortcomings, there is a high correlation between the productivity of a tree and environmental conditions.
Unlike the President, Idol is a late-ripening variety. Its fruits are distinguished by a rounded shape, tapering in the lower part, and pronounced ribbing. The idol is considered large-fruited: with proper standardization, apples can reach a mass of 250 g, in other cases they are smaller, from 120 to 200 g. The skin color is red-yellow, with a waxy sheen. Inside, the apple is almost white, sweet with sourness, the pulp is dense, crunchy and aromatic (tasting score - from 4.6 to 4.8 points). Among the features of growing Idol, it should be noted its good winter hardiness and the ability to easily adapt to external conditions, which distinguishes this variety from the President.In the northern regions, during severe frosts, the Kumir apple tree garden is protected from severe frosts by smoke. To do this, make fires, the amount will depend on the size of the garden. Idol bears fruit abundantly and regularly, does not need pollinators, moreover, he himself is able to perfectly pollinate varieties that bloom at the same time. The variety is almost not affected by scab and other fungal diseases. Gardeners, however, note that Idol does not grow well in the shade, does not tolerate drafts, often suffers from high groundwater, is demanding on top dressing. However, all these features are characteristic of all varieties of this group. There is no variety in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation.
Sparkle is another self-pollinated, large-fruited variety of apple trees with a sweet and sour taste and late ripening. The average weight of apples is 180 g, the color of the peel is saturated green, the palatability is high, the flesh has a high juice content, it crunches nicely when bitten. The advantages of Sparks over their analogues are traditionally high winter hardiness, wood strength (lack of tendency to break branches - a frequent problem of dwarf mutants), and fertility.Speaking about the shortcomings, it should be mentioned that, like the President, Sparkle is highly demanding for care, dependent on regular watering, and in addition, the tree needs to be trimmed for at least three years after planting. Like Idol, Spark is not included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of Russia.
Did you know? Literally, the name Granny Smith translates as Granny Granny. They say that the elderly Australian Anna Maria Smith once crossed her wild and domestic apple trees for the sake of interest, thus obtaining a variety that won worldwide love, and, it is indicative, this hybrid could not be fixed - it propagates exclusively vegetatively.
Triumph is a columnar variety developed by scientists of the All-Russian Institute of Horticulture and Nursery (Moscow). It was included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation in 2015 with access to use in the Central District (Moscow, Bryansk, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Smolensk, Tula, Kaluga, Ryazan Regions).Despite the columnar structure of the tree, in some cases Triumph can form lateral shoots, and they should be removed during the spring pruning. Maturing dates are medium (autumn). The fruits are rounded, raspberry red, large enough and very tasty. The pulp contains a slight sourness against the background of general honey sweetness, a rich aroma and a characteristic dense, crunchy structure with fine grain. It is valued for its high yield (5-10 kg per tree, even with an average level of care) and excellent resistance to fungal infections, especially scab. However, Triumph's frost resistance is not high enough.
Malyuha was derived on the basis of the same scientific institute as Triumph. The variety was included in the State Register in 2015 and recommended for cultivation in the Central District. Belongs to mid-season, but at the same time the fruits have very good keeping quality, so they can be stored until winter.Malyukha bears fruit regularly and abundantly, apples on a tree grow very large, up to 250 g, and have a yellow-green color of the peel with a blurred pink barrel. The pulp is almost white, sometimes with a touch of baked milk.The taste is juicy, sweet, with acidity, the structure is dense and crispy, the aroma is bright. Among the merits of the variety, good frost resistance and high immunity to fungal infections, including scab, are noted. However, unlike Sparkles and Idol, Malyuha needs pollinators, since the apple has very low fertility, therefore, it is recommended to plant a dwarf tree in close proximity to varieties similar in terms of flowering, like Chervonets, Kitayka or Currency.
Variety of apple trees Poetry bred in the Oryol region, on the basis of the State Scientific Institution "All-Russian Scientific Research Institute for Selection of Fruit Crops". In the genetic formula, the Leader is present, as well as the colonized variety 224-18 and the early autumn apple tree SR0523 of Swedish selection. The new hybrid was obtained by free pollination. It was entered in the State Register in 2015, classified as late-ripening (winter), recommended for cultivation in the Central Black Earth region of Russia (Oryol, Lipetsk, Tambov, Voronezh, Kursk and Belgorod regions).If everything is done correctly, apples will grow large, juicy and sweet at the end of the season, and the tree will not suffer from exhaustion. If you do not regulate the load, the fruits will be small and tasteless, and the fruiting itself will be unstable periodic. Poetry fruits are quite large, on average 180 g, have a rounded, slightly flattened shape and a very beautiful dark red color on a yellow-green base. The flesh is less dense than that of Malyuha and Triumph, the structure is fine-grained, the juice content is high, and the taste is sweet and sour. The advantages of the variety include resistance to scab and good yield indicators (5–9 kg per tree, and with good care and proper top dressing, much more). Among the shortcomings should be called a fairly low shelf life (apples can be stored no longer than until the end of winter, which is considered a very short shelf life for winter varieties).
According to the history of Ostankino, the variety is very similar to the President. It was created on the basis of the same parental forms, in the same institution, in the same year. Even the author of the varieties is common - Victor Valeryanovich Kichina. The Ostankino variety was officially registered in 2002, it was zoned in the Central District, and by maturity dates it belongs to the early winter. Fruits are rounded, slightly flattened. The sizes are average - from 130 to 150 g. However, when normalizing the yield, they can reach 200 or even 300 g. The skin color is saturated violet-red against a yellow-green background.The taste is dessert, the pulp is sweet and juicy, acid is present only as a pleasant addition. A good and stable yield (from 7 to 9 kg per tree), early maturity, excellent taste and marketability, and high resistance to fungal infections should be added to the advantages of the variety. Disadvantages - low winter hardiness. In addition, apples of this variety are prone to shedding due to short stalks.
Important! Ostankino apples are very similar in taste to Melba, popular in the middle lane.
This semi-dwarf variety was bred at the All-Russian Institute of Horticulture and Nursery Research Federal State Budgetary Institution by crossing the colon-shaped KV-6 and the variety OR38T17 brought to Russia from the USA. Lukomor was included in the state register most recently - in 2017. Zoned in the Central region. Ripening dates are late (winter). The fruits are medium in size (from 80 to 120 g), the skin is green, sweet and sour, dense, crisp flesh with a rich aroma.By external characteristics, Lukomor apples are very similar to the Ukrainian variety Simirenko, a slightly less well-known Australian variety Granny Smith. For a short period of its existence, Lukomor managed to fall in love with many gardeners for its good yield (up to 8 kg from one tree), quick entry into the fruiting phase, genetic resistance to scab and other fungal infections, as well as high winter hardiness. The variety has no special drawbacks, only the exactingness for watering and top dressing characteristic of all “mutants”.
This variety differs from all the above literally record yields: gardeners claim that it is quite possible to collect up to 16 kg of fruits of excellent quality from one tree. Apples ripen in September (medium terms); they range in size from medium (120 g) to very large (300 g), depending on rationing. The taste is dessert, sweet with a slight acidity, the juice content is high.The skin color is saturated red on a green basis, there is a beautiful sheen. The pulp is creamy in color, soft, well suited both for fresh consumption and for squeezing juices or preparations. Apples are stored well, subject to the technology of collection and ensuring the right conditions, they can remain fresh until mid-winter.
Rules for planting and caring for colon-shaped apple trees
Caring for a colon-shaped apple tree has some features, although in general it can be said that all of them are more likely to simplify the life of the gardener than to complicate it. So, the trees of this species are always stunted and compact (the maximum height of the “column” is 3 m, the crown diameter is not more than 0.5 m). Accordingly, it is much more convenient to process such a plant than an ordinary apple tree.
Did you know? Scientists estimate that each tree growing on earth saves people about $ 7 a year in costs for implementing various kinds of environmental programs, and all these plants together reduce more than two billion dollars a year in only those expenses that humanity spends on cooling.
Colon-shaped forms are distinguished by a quick entry into the fruiting phase: the first apples on the tree are formed in the second year after planting, and full-fledged crops can be removed already from 4-6-year-old seedlings, and each gives from 5 to 15 kg of crop, which, given the small size of the tree really impressive. True, unlike ordinary apple trees, which are real long-livers among fruit trees, mutants are relatively short-lived - their period of full productivity is usually limited to 15-16 years, after which the apple tree must be removed from the site and replaced with a new one.Growing a columnar apple orchard requires close attention to it. Like any other plant, care, creation of conditions, formation, and pest control are required. Among the many colonized varieties, one can easily choose one that distinguishes resistance to diseases and pests, as well as frost resistance, although the latter quality is still rare for mutants. However, almost all of these trees, more than the usual forms of apple trees, depend on watering and feeding (this is explained by a more compact root system of the tree, not adapted to independently extract moisture and nutrients from a large area).
Important! A seedling of a columnar apple tree should be purchased exclusively in a specialized nursery of garden trees, and it is advisable to drive there personally and make sure that there are adult trees of this variety.
The disadvantages of the subspecies also include certain difficulties with the choice of seedlings: such trees are still quite rare, are more expensive than ordinary apple trees, and besides, it is for these reasons that there is a great risk of acquiring a fake, for example, an ordinary tree on a dwarf rootstock with remote side shoots.Specialists recommend purchasing small trees at the age of one year (for ordinary apple trees, a two-year-old tree is allowed). Colon-shaped forms, unlike standard ones, are recommended to be planted in lowlands, since moist soil is not dangerous for them, but rather necessary.
The landing pit is prepared in standard sizes: at one year of age, the size of the root system in seedlings of ordinary and columnar forms does not differ. The composition, structure of the soil and the initial need for organic and mineral fertilizers, which is provided at the stage of planting a tree, are the same for a columnar apple tree as for a regular one.In particular, it is recommended to mix the soil extracted from the pit before burying the seedling with compost or humus, as well as superphosphate, dolomite flour and potassium sulfate. It is best to plant varieties with a vertical crown in April, although autumn planting is also allowed. During the first year after transplanting, the ovaries that have appeared after flowering should be removed from the seedling, so it will be easier for the tree to grow stronger and survive the next winter, and begin to bear fruit in the second year.
The minimum permissible landing pattern of “dwarfs" is 90 x 50 cm, thus, per 10 square meters. It’s quite possible to place 10-15 trees. Nevertheless, experienced gardeners strongly recommend composing different varieties according to flowering dates, disease resistance, fertilizer requirements and other important criteria so that caring for one tree does not inconvenience its neighbors in need of different conditions of detention.
Important! The absence of shading around the columnar apple tree allows you to use the space under the tree to grow any garden plants with a superficial root system. However, one must take into account the rules of compatibility (the so-called "allelopathy"): potatoes adversely affect the development of the apple tree, and this tree itself inhibits the rose.
Further tree care involves the following activities:
- Top dressing. From the second year after planting, organic matter (compost, chicken droppings, humus, cow or horse manure) and mineral fertilizers (in the spring - nitrogen, in the autumn - potassium-phosphorus) should be regularly added to the area of the trunk circle. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that the usual dosage of mineral fertilizers for apple trees when growing columnar forms must be reduced by at least 5 times, and for super-dwarf varieties - by an order of magnitude.
- Watering. Until the seedling takes root and hardens, it needs to be watered regularly and abundantly, but even in subsequent years, instead of traditional for fruit trees 3-4 times a season, dwarf forms are watered at least twice a month, be sure to use a little warmed up sun water.
- Shelter for the winter. Winter hardiness is not a distinctive feature of columnar varieties, therefore, the trunk tree should be thoroughly mulched in autumn, and the stem itself should be wrapped with light burlap, spanbond, agricultural fiber or, for example, old nylon tights.
- Treatment for diseases and pests. Colon-shaped apple trees suffer from the same fungal diseases, bacteria, viruses, insects and ticks as other trees of this species, therefore, the spraying pattern and the type of preparation for these varieties are traditionally used "apple".
- Pruning. Unlike ordinary varieties, mutants practically do not need crown formation, and sanitary, thinning and anti-aging branch removal is not a mandatory component of annual care. However, after the winter, which many varieties of dwarfs endure heavily, the upper bud of the guiding shoot may not wake up, in this case several competing shoots sometimes form in its place. Among them, you should choose the strongest, and shorten the rest at a height of 20 cm.The same manipulations are carried out if the branching occurred due to breaking off the top or for other unforeseen reasons. At the stage of growth of the column-shaped seedling, pruning consists in pinching the side shoots.
Harvesting, transportability and storage
The rules for collecting, transporting and storing a harvest of colon-shaped apple trees do not have fundamental features, except for the fact that removing apples from a neat, compact and stunted tree is a job that even a child can handle.
Important! The shelf life of the fruit does not depend on the method of formation of the crown, but on the maturity of a particular variety. This regularity must be known, determining which apples should be consumed or processed immediately, and which ones should be left for long-term storage.
The classification of varieties of columnar apple trees by the ripening and storage periods is given in the table:
|Ripening period||Shelf life||Varieties|
|Early (summer) - from late July to early August||10-15 days||President, Iksha, Medoc, Dialogue, Ray|
|Medium (autumn) - from the second half of August to the beginning of September||3-5 weeks||Amber necklace, Chervonets, Vasyugan, Muscovite, Ostankino, Triumph, Senator|
|Late (winter) - from mid-September to October||6–9 months||Currency, Malyukha, Legend, Poetry, Sparkle, Moscow necklace, Gothic, Esenia, Idol, Lukomor|
Winter varieties are best stored in a cool place. (ideally, in a cellar where high humidity and a constant temperature are maintained at a level of several degrees of heat), if possible with the stalks laid out in one layer up to avoid damage by a rigid twig of the “neighbor's” peel. If it is possible to ensure that there is no direct contact between the individual copies, it is necessary to use it (for example, by wrapping each fruit in a napkin, soft tissue or, in extreme cases, a newspaper). From time to time, the condition of stocks must be checked by selecting fruits that show the first signs of spoilage.A columnar apple tree is a real find for the owner of a small infield, forced to fight for every square meter of usable space. An unusual mutation allows you to grow a whole garden on an area traditionally occupied by one fruit tree, selecting varieties with different ripening dates and taste characteristics. In addition, such trees look very unusual and elegant, and the quality of the crop is by no means inferior to apple trees with the usual (spreading) crown shape.