Tip Bearing Photo?

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Eric Tyira

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Mar 22, 2021, 11:48:38 AM3/22/21
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Does anyone have a photo or photos of a true tip bearing apple tree?  I don't mean a semi-spur bearing that sometimes grows on tips but a tree that only produces fruit on the tips.

Is there such a beast?

Eric

Duncan Hewitt

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Mar 22, 2021, 12:06:48 PM3/22/21
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According to my orchard records, I only have Ellis Bitter down as a tip-bearer, but then some websites say it has a 'strong tip-bearing tendency', so I can't be sure it is only a tip bearer unless I wait for it to fruit. As it's a relatively young tree that replaced a plum, it may not produce any fruit this year anyway, especially as my formative pruning tends to cut back most tips (bye bye tip-bearing blossom!) :D

Other than that, of the 60 varieties, the rest are a mix or spur, and some unknown. Also intrigued.
Duncan Hewitt
Merrybower Homestead
07941 905796
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Vince Wakefield

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Mar 22, 2021, 12:44:44 PM3/22/21
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I think Harry Masters is a tip bearer.

 

Vince

sjbuff...@gmail.com

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Mar 22, 2021, 1:55:56 PM3/22/21
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Hi Eric, here is one that I took to show an example of horrible branch angle, which seems to be more prevalent in tip-bearers, at least the ones I have. In addition there are some other clues when trying to assess if it its a tip bearer. Weather and pollination permitting they are not biennial, which is a big clue and a really fun conversation for those that like to nerd out on plant hormones (like me!). Also they are often twiggy, with many upright shoots, short branches off of bourse buds and long branches with dormant buds except for the tip: more like a willow than a classic wide-angled shape you would see off of Kingston Black. Of the 30-40 English and French Bittersweets I have pruned not one of them is a true tip bearer, though they probably exist. Part of that could be that they are harder to manage and probably are selected out of production unless they are worth the trouble. The ones I work with are usually sharps, or mildly bitter-sharp, though I do faintly recall working with an English Sweet, Coppin maybe?

This picture explains why they are more work than spur trees. If you ignore the diagonal branch and focus on the 4-5 upright ones you can see 2 different types. The 2 larger branches I headed during the dormant season to promote well-branched scaffolds, which sort of worked though the branch angle is atrocious (this is Harrison). The 3 smaller branches are managed for fruit by pruning back 6-9" (or half if shorter) into last year's wood AFTER they have grown ~2" in the spring. As you can see this tricks the buds along the stem to turn into fruit buds the following year. This is important not only to increase yield but to stop a large branch of unproductive buds. After a few years those buds will not push and you will have "blind wood".

I often wonder if we shouldn't just plant them and walk away for 20 years. I spend a lot of time and swear words trying to make them into something they don't want to be. It is a fun challenge, though. Good luck,

Stephen
IMG_0800.jpg

Eric Tyira

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Mar 22, 2021, 2:38:42 PM3/22/21
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Thanks, Stephen.

Here's the reason I ask.  My orchard is still in its infancy.  I'll be transplanting the trees from the nursery to the orchard this coming fall.  I plan to "double espalier" the trees (pics below).  I was talking to someone about this and they said, "what will you do about tip bearers?"  I know they are the minority of apple trees but I don't have experience with tip bearers and I'm sure I've ever seen one.  I can always remove them if they are a problem.

Not far from our home is Evergreen Farm (http://www.evergreenfarm.us) owned and run by Mr. Kim.  He was kind enough to give me a tour of his place a few years ago.  He grows all his trees on, basically, hoop houses.  If you go to the gallery section you can see his photos.

I took some pics of my own when I was there to wrap my head around the concept.  Mr. Kim claims it greatly reduces his labor, spraying becomes more effective and he loses no production.  The costs associated with the hoop houses surely aren't cheap but it's a long term plan.

Trees in bloom
Korean Bloom.png

Pruning creates watersprouts (top of this pic).  A lot of them.  I asked him if he simply trims them and they do once per year, but not all.  He said, "old wood doesn't make good fruit, only young wood."  So the idea is that you leave some watersprouts to grow that will eventually replace the branches that are there, so it is constantly being cycled.
image.png


But how to bend the watersprouts down?  He kerf cuts and then they heal.  Here's one that was growing vertically that they cut to pull back down.
image.png


They bag their pears to keep the pests off and then reveal them to the sun for color later.  He still sprays for disease but only as required.  IPM for diseases I guess.
image.png

I can see the benefits of this kind of system, but the initial cost of the hoops are the problem.  But they make maintenance, spraying, picking, etc. all that much easier.  Just pull a trailer with workers on it slowly down the rows like an assembly line of sorts.  You still have the hoops, purlins, wire, clips, etc. to create the cylindrical surface for the branches to lay out, so it's similar to a vertical trellis but uses steel posts instead of wood.

Eric

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Les Price

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Mar 23, 2021, 3:22:05 AM3/23/21
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To get to your question of tip bearing, come to think of it the only "cider" variety i can recall that i have tested was Harrison as far as tip bearing. It was a real pleasure to finally get rid of it as it was being grown as a central spindle tree and didnt want to be tamed.
On my farm, however trees like this work out perfectly. I employ a 6 wire trellis, 7' to the top wire and unruly, lanky, tip bearers just get tied to the wires as aposed to pruned. This encourages fruiting instead of the growth that pruning does and supports the fruit and tree.
The 2 dimensional tree / row gets good light penetration, air circulation and spray penetration is easy and even.
No matter how high you built a trellis, posts and wire are a whole lot cheaper than greenhouses. 
The key to the trellis working is being able to use semi dwarfing root stocks at your location. Im using emla 26 and recently geneva 935. I also use m 9 and emla 27 on super vigorous varieties but have'nt on any cider varieties. 

sjbuff...@gmail.com

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Mar 23, 2021, 1:50:22 PM3/23/21
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Eric, what a cool project! I really like how it looks, especially flowering. I think the biggest advantage would be the near optimum branch angle. My biggest concern would be easy of picking, especially from a moving platform. The fruit would be above the trellis, in the sun? I also agree with Les, I don’t see why a tip bearer would be a problem, since they are so good at renewing fruitful wood and benefit so much from lower branch angles.

I also agree with Les about cost and efficiency. I’m almost certain that a N-S oriented vertical trellis would maximize production and minimize labor. I don’t know if you would need 6 wires (unless you were growing Harrison :) ) but 3-4 on posts would allow you good branch angles, support and ease of management. The rule of thumb is row spacing the same as managed height. 

The eating apple growers are now doing something in between the 2 system we are talking about, with 2 lines of trees coming out of the same row leaning in opposite directions 20+ degrees. This allows a lot of the advantages you are after with the greenhouse frame, but I would guess it would be easier to manage than a full cover system that you sent pictures of. It’s also important to remember that a lot of these systems are designed to maximize sun on, size of apples, higher percentage of perfect apples, and subsequently, profits. Not sure that cider apples would operate within the same financial trade offs.

All this being said if you like the greenhouse shape and are willing to do all the work you should go for it. It will create a really great space to be in. I wouldn’t worry about tip bearers either. In some ways they might be easier to manage than a low vigor spur variety. I’m sure after you do it for 15 years you will know the right ones to use :)

Stephen

Gloria Bell

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Jun 4, 2024, 3:15:15 AMJun 4
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cortland is a horrible tip bearer.  Many use it in cider.  Golden russet too.  They start bearing at the tips but do start to bear from tips back towards the trunk but have a lot of blind wood.  Yarlington has tons of blind wood too as does Harrision.
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