We have been shipping thousands of apple trees to the tropics now for four years, and one thing that has become apparent is that you cannot just plant an apple tree in the tropics and leave it to its own will; as shown on the photo on the left, it will grow into a tall, spindly, unproductive whip the first year and then grow a lot of long, narrow-crotch angle branches that show lack of chill symptoms and bear few if any apples.
It is much better to plant fewer apple trees and devote the necessary care to them than to plant many apple trees that remain unproductive, kind of like having fewer nice fat cows than a bunch of skinny, sickly cows. Training the tree the first two years will bring it into productivity quicker and build the proper foundation for heavy bearing in later years, and avoid the unnecessary removal of large limbs, which leads to delayed bearing. Intensive training is expensive at the beginning, but you’re throwing your money away without it as otherwise you will end up with an orchard of skinny, unproductive trees.
We will also provide training for the farmer, as we run one of the best tropic apple culture training programs in Africa. We are familiar with the needs of farmers growing apples in rural areas of the tropics, which are much different than in an industrialized cold climate, and specialized knowledge and techniques are required.
We also offer continuing education for growers that are interested in highly advanced techniques such as drip irrigation and high-intensity tall spindle tree training systems that greatly increase the yield per hectare.
We constantly review university-level and state-of-the-art culture methods to see how they can be adapted to the tropics, to help your commercial orchard to be as advanced as any in the world.
We also have compiled much of this information into our new book, Growing Apples in the Tropics, now available!
Photos; Tall, thin, unproductive tree will need heavy pruning and training that will delay bearing. Young benchgrafts need proper training in order to avoid heavy pruning cuts that will delay bearing.
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