High density central leader systems, the so called "spindle trees" are spreading in intensive stone fruit orchards established for hand picking in Hungary. Results of Brunner (1972, 1990) and Zahn (1967, 1996) inspired the researchers to implement their theories into practice under our climate and special soil conditions. For...sweet cherry it is essential to apply an orchard system appropriate for hand picking because of the European market requirements. In intensive sweet cherry orchards two new training and orchard systems are developed and adapted to environmental conditions in Hungary based on previous inventions. The first step of the development is represented by modified Brunner-spindle, which applies the delayed heading of the central leader and the sectorial-double-pruning system from Brunner (1972), resulting intensive orchard of 600-800 trees/ha density, planted on standard vigour rootstocks. Modified Brunner-spindle trees are developed with a central leader and wide-angled branches on it. Light bearing wood is positioned on the central leader and wide-angled branches. During training, shoots for branches are bent or a sectorial double pruning is used. The growth of central leader is reduced by delayed heading, and the strong upright shoots are pinched in summer. Based upon tree size spacing of 5 m between row and 2.5-3 m between trees is recommended, tree height is around 3.5-4 m. This training system is useful for hand-picking; 60-70% of the crop can be harvested from ground. Modified Brunner-spindle is suitable for either standard or moderate vigorous rootstocks. The cherry spindle is an intensive orchard planted with 1250-2300 trees per hectare and it is recommended for sweet and sour cherries on semi dwarf to vigorous rootstocks, depending on soil fertility and quality. Trees are 2.5-3.5 m high, 75-80% of the crop can be harvested from the ground. Permanent basal scaffolds are developed on the basis of the canopy to counteract the stronger terminal growth. The tree is headed only once, after planting, from the following year the central leader grows from the terminal bud. The central leader developed from the terminal bud results moderated growth in the upper parts of the tree head. The strong upright shoots that may develop below the terminal bud are pinched to 3-4 leaves in the summer or removed entirely. The weaker, almost horizontal shoots growing from the central leader form fruiting twigs in the following year if their terminal bud is not removed. Brunner's double pruning is used only once or twice on the permanent basal branches because of its good branching effect. Trials on various rootstocks are running to find optimum spacing and fruiting wood management. The training and pruning guidelines are discussed in the paper. The average crop of bearing years is around 20-30 t/ha depending on site and cultivars. This new system is spreading in Hungary, around 70 ha sweet and sour cherry orchards are trained according to our guidelines.
An assortment of 17 pear varieties was examined in 2006 at Keszthely, Department of Horticulture, Georgicon Faculty of Agriculture, Veszprem University. The selected varieties were planted in 1980, grafted on seedling rootstock and represented the majority of existing pear plantations in Hungary. The main objective was the determination of suit...ability of the most important varieties for the purpose of intensive growing technologies even when grafted on vigorous seedling rootstock. The most important growing and fruiting characteristics of the varieties have been assessed and evaluated from the point of view of productivity. We stated that the relations of the trunk or the main axis to the lateral branches and fruiting structures are all subject to varietal effects and are valuable indices of the growing character. The quotient of the diameters of trunk and branch should be around 0.3-0.4, and the relative frequency of fruiting structures (Dárda, nyárs, vessző) meaning the ability of branching and regeneration associated with accurate pruning policies are decisive from the point of view of promising success.
Trees of three plum cultivars (Stanley, Cacanska Lepotica and Althann's Gage) were planted at Szigetcsép experimental station in Spring 1994 and trained to slender spindle with the aim to test their growth, effect of productivity under not irrigated conditions and to evaluate the adaptability of rootstock/scion combinations to intensive orchar...ds. As control, trees on Myrobalan C 162/A (P. cerasifera) seedling are planted. In the trial two rootstocks are from Slovakia: Myrobalan MY-KL-A (red leaf) and Myrobalan MY-BO-1, vegetatively propageted. Further on two French rootstocks, the Marianna GF 8-1: Marianna plum (P. cerasifera x P munsoniana) and the Sainte Julien GF 655/2 (P. insititia) were involved. The Hungarian bred plum Fehér besztercei (P. domestica), which is recommended as apricot rootstock is also tested. Rootstocks MY-BO-1 and Fehér besztercei were planted with cultivar Stanley only. Trees were planted to a spacing of 5x3 m trained to slender spindle with 3-4 permanent basal branches. After yield start (1997) trees have been pruned only in summer, after harvest. In the alleyway the natural plant vegetation is mown, the orchard is not irrigated.
Based on tree size, vigorous rootstocks are Marianna GF 8-1 and Myrobalan C 162/A seedling, medium vigorous are MY-BO-I and MYKL-A; vegetative propageted myrobalan plums from Slovakia, while St. Julien GF 655/2 and Feller Besztercei proved to be growth reducing rootstocks. No significant difference between the rootstocks was found in turning to bearing. Under non-irrigated condition at Szigetcsép, cultivar Stanley produced the highest yield per area unit on vigorous rootstock (GF 8-1). The cultivar Althann's Gage produced the highest yield efficiency on Marianna GF 8-1 and they were healthy in the last 10 years. The symptoms of Althann's Gage trees on MY-KL-A rootstock indicate a possible incompatibility. The average fruit weight was significantly influenced by crop load on cultivar Cacanska lepotica, while no statistically proved differences were found on Stanley and Althann's Gage. The Cacanska lepotica trees produced significantly lower yield and larger fruit weight on St. Julien GF 655/2 rootstock. Adaptability to spindle training system depends on vigour of scion/rootstock combination: low or medium vigour cultivars (C. lepotica, Stanley) are good choice for spindle training systems even on vigorous rootstock; while the St. Julien GF 655/2 can be recommended only for vigorous Althann's Gage under our soil and climate conditions.