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The different forms of fruit trees in the Lubera shop

In the Lubera shop you will find all sorts of different fruit trees with different tree forms and plant qualities. It can be confusing buying fruit trees, the same variety can be offered in different variants, and to make matters worse, these variants are also called and handled differently by different plant producers and suppliers. So the question is: what fruit tree varieties are there at Lubera, what do they look like, what qualities do they have and what are they most suitable for?

Easytree®: a one-year-old tree in a 5 L pot


-Short description: The Easytree® in a 5 L pot is characterised by the dominant central axis, which has more or less side buds, side shoots and side branches depending on the variety and type of fruit. An Easytree® is a one-year-old tree, which means that it has grown for one year after grafting. If one adds the cultivation period of the rootstock and the grafting year, the plant is a total of three years old, but normally, only the time after grafting is calculated.

-Lubera rootstocks: Apple Easytrees® are mostly grafted onto M9 or B9 rootstocks; very low growing varieties are grafted onto M26 rootstocks; pear Easytrees® are grafted onto quince, damsons and plums; peaches and apricots are grafted onto St. Julien clonal rootstocks and cherries onto the particularly weak growing Gisela® rootstocks.

-Final size of an Easytree®: Pome fruit height: 2 m high, width: 100-150 cm; stone fruit height: 3-3.5 m, width: 2-2.5 m; Easytree® cherries grafted onto the slow-growing Gisela 5 rootstock are about the size of a pome fruit tree.

-Ideal for: The planting of a small and quickly fruiting fruit tree, which is trained as a spindle. The spindle shape that is already created in the young plant itself allows the tree to develop continuously and without too much pruning interventions. This ensures that it usually flowers and is fruitful already in the second year, which of course in turn reduces the vigour. This tree form is also suitable for planting a fruit tree hedge.

Bush: a two-year-old tree in a 10 L pot


-Short description: The two-year-old bush is cut like pome fruit to about 60-70 cm, so that the branch-free trunk is really low, usually only 40-50 cm high. At a height of about 40-60 cm, there is a wreath of side branches, which have grown in response to the cut. In addition, a centre has been trained, which will then serve as a stem extension. In the case of stone fruit, the cut is usually a bit higher, at about 70-90 cm, and accordingly, the branch-free trunk is a little longer. The two-year-old bush has grown for two years after grafting; including the rootstock and the year of grafting, the cultivation period is four years.

-Rootstocks at Lubera: Here we use the same rootstocks as for the Easytree®. However, the two-year-old cherries are grafted onto Colt, so they are much stronger and bigger than the Easytree® cherries, which are grafted onto Gisela® rootstocks.

-Final size of the bush: Pome fruit height: 2-2.5 m, width: 1.2-2m; stone fruit height: 3-4 m, width: 2.5-3 m.

-Ideal for: The two-year-old bushes are perfect for a slightly wider fruit tree, a wider spindle or a small round crown. In general, the tree has much more volume than the Easytree® at the time of planting, but it also has a slightly greater shock after planting. If you also want to use the two-year-old bush for the smallest possible tree shape in the garden (usually in solitary locations or in small groups), it is important that the side branches are not cut, but tied down to a horizontal position. If you want to train the tree to have a round or hollow crown, then all of the side branches and for a round crown, even the centre must be pruned regularly in the first three years in order to encourage more growth.

Espalier: a two-year-old espalier in a 10 L pot


-Short description: This is the same tree form as the bush, except that the specimens are selected with two nicely distributed, opposite side branches that have the same height if possible – perfect for training on a trellis and creating a palmette shape. Like the two-year-old bushes, the two-year-old espalier form has been grown for two years after the grafting process. If you include the cultivation period of the rootstock, then the total is four years.

-Rootstocks at Lubera: Like the above bushes.

-Final size of the espalier tree: Pome fruit height: 2.5-3 m, width: 3 m; stone fruit height: 2.5-3.5 m; width: up to 4 m.

-Ideal for: Detached trellises on a wire frame or for wall trellises. If the side shoots do not fill the available space, it is very important in the spring after planting that the trellis branches be cut back about 20% in order to encourage additional growth. Also, the trellis branches should not be tied down horizontally in the first two years, otherwise they prematurely stop the growth of new shoots. It is also important to prevent “overbuilding” the centre. All fruit tree species tend towards apical dominance, which means that the physically higher shoot tips are promoted the most. When training the espalier, where you want to first promote the side branches, the trellis branches, it is accordingly important that the centre be repeatedly cut back in the early years to the level or even slightly below the level of the trellis branches, so that the tree is forced to further develop the side branches.

Semi-standard: a two-year-old tree in a 10 L pot


-Short description: The pome fruit semi-standard is cut to about 80-90 cm, i.e. the trunk is 60-70 cm high; the stone fruit semi-standard is slightly higher. In contrast to the traditional semi-standard, as it used to be offered (and still in many nurseries today), the stem is lower nowadays (60-70 cm vs. 110-150 cm in the past). Why? Because we know from our customers that they mainly use semi-standards in order to be able to mow their lawns better and to be able to select a low underplanting. And so we decided to no longer equip the semi-standards with 110-150 cm tall trunks and strong-growing rootstocks (making the fruits even further away from the hungry gardener), but to simply make the trunk height of the semi-standard slightly higher than that of the bushes (for easier processing of the subsoil). Our semi-standards at Lubera® are basically a slightly taller version of the bushes; with many other suppliers and traditionally it is a lower version of the standard tree – with the same rootstocks as the standard. But would you really like to have a tree in today's garden that can reach a crown diameter of 5-9 m in 20 years on a trunk that is only 140 cm? Specifically, that would mean that you could not go underneath it. Here is our opinion: those who want such a big tree should choose a standard tree! Of course, we do not want to conceal the fact that our semi-standards have a disadvantage compared to the traditional low-growing standard trees: they definitely need a stake!

-Rootstocks at Lubera: For stone fruit we use the same rootstocks as the bushes; also Colt in the case of the cherry. For pome fruits, we also use M9 for many varieties, but some varieties are more compatible on M26 or comparable rootstocks (than the bushes).
Control the final size of the semi-standard by pruning and training: if you cut the semi-standard a bit more in the first years, it will tend to get bigger. Likewise, if you are looking for a taller tree, you should ensure that the leaders grow upwards at an angle of 45-50° (certainly do not tie them down flat). If the semi-standard in the crown diameter really should not be larger than a bush, tie the side branches down horizontally and consistently do without pruning the branches during the first few years.

-Final size of the semi-standard: Pome fruit height: 2.5-4 m, crown diameter: 2-3.5 m; stone fruit height: 3.5-4.5 m, crown diameter: 3-4 m. The growth and the final sizes are very much dependent on the pruning and training method (see above).

-Ideal for: Small to medium-sized trees on the lawn and in the garden, where a short underplanting or even lawn mowing should be possible.

Standard: bareroot standard tree


-Short description: A four to five-year-old tree with a 160-180 cm tall trunk and a light crown. We only produce the standards in the field, not in pots. Between November and April they are shipped bareroot – which means without root balls and pots.

-Rootstocks at Lubera: For the standard, strong-growing seedling rootstocks are used for all types of fruit, apple and pear seedlings for apple trees and pear trees; cherry seedlings for cherries. Also for plums strong-growing stone fruit rootstocks are used.

-Final size: height: 6-10 m, crown diameter: 5-9 m, depending on the age, training method, type of fruit and variety. Over a longer period of time, pome fruit trunks tend to grow larger than stone fruit trunks; this is in contrast to the growth of smaller tree forms and in the early years.

-Ideal for: Orchards, a tree in a larger garden, as a fruit avenue along a driveway.
And what about the columnar fruit trees, mini fruit trees, Maloni®, Malini®, Pirini® and Pironi®?

Maloni/Malini and Pirini/Pironi are not really tree shapes, but varieties that grow genetically determined in a certain way. Maloni® and Pironi®, dwarf apple trees and dwarf pear trees have genetically controlled, shorter internodes; they grow as bushy as a normal fruit tree, but just look a lot more compact. They grow on a comparable rootstock only 20-50% of the normal size of a bush. Malini® and Pirini®, i.e. columnar apples and column pears, not only have shorter internodes and thus a more compact growth, they also have such a strong apical dominance (tip development) that hardly any side shoots are created and a sort of columnar growth results. But as I said: this is the growth of the varieties themselves and it is not a tree type that was artificially induced due to pruning or cutting measures that took place in the tree nursery...


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