The pruning and training are important in apple cultivation. One-year-old plants are cut back at about 80-100 cm above ground. If branches are present at this time, only 4 to 5 of them ought to be retained and shortened in length. No shoot is retained below 50 cm from ground. At the time of first dormant pruning, the main scaffold branches are cut back to about half a metre in length.
Secondary branches arise from these main limbs. Some of the new shoots arising early in the second summer are rubbed off in order to develop only a few vigorous secondary branches. During the second dormant pruning, the crowded, misplaced or diseased secondary branches are removed and the extra vigorous ones headed back. This process is continued for 4 or 5 years, at the end of which there are 8 to 10 scaffold branches.
It is desirable to add 100-150 g of nitrogen as sulphate of ammonia. Similar quantities of phosphate and potash should be added when required. Five quintals of bone meal and 10 quintals of wood ash per hectare are given annually besides the fertilizers. Fertilizers should be mixed with the soil at a radius of 1 m from the plant.
Thinning of fruit
Thinning of fruit is also practised in order to improve fruit colour and fruit size. It is desirable to retain one fruit for every 40 leaves. This spaces the fruit at about 15-20 cm apart and there will be only one fruit per spur.
KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY