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Limb spreaders
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coolbrze
49 Posts
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1
January 12, 2020 - 4:49 pm

Hi everyone - I'm looking at adding some limb spreaders to my young apple & pear trees, what are some kinds you like? I was thinking of trying a bunch of these once the limbs outgrow clothespins:

psc=1

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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2
January 14, 2020 - 4:55 pm

I'm pretty blue collar so I like to make stuff.  I often use reed stems, then tie them off. Sometimes I will tie them down with something heavy or to another branch or a fence.  I can usually remove them after a year or two.  It's not just the money. It's also the resourcefulness and the humor or recycling.  I also use rope, bicycle inner tubes and old hose.

John S
PDX OR

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brush
sw hills, portland, oregon
10 Posts
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3
January 14, 2020 - 10:35 pm

me too. i use clothespins and toothpicks when the limbs are very small, and then forked cut branches if i have them, or bits of lumber with nails in the end that i cut off at an angle. this last makes a small hole in the branch of course, but they all seem to heal well and quickly when i take the spreader away. i find the spreader can be removed by midyear usually.

i also use recycled twine from hay bales (from the goat herd) to train the larger branches both up and down, as needed. i try to focus on training to minimize the need for severe structural pruning cuts.

all that said, those wire spreaders you refer to look pretty convenient. curious how they work out for you!

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coolbrze
49 Posts
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January 16, 2020 - 2:18 pm

Thanks guys, got some tied down w/ twine but was looking for something different 🙂 That was another question I had... how long to I leave them on for? Also, should I adjust/move them quarterly so they don't girdle the branches?

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
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January 17, 2020 - 11:58 pm

coolbrze said
Thanks guys, got some tied down w/ twine but was looking for something different 🙂 That was another question I had... how long to I leave them on for? Also, should I adjust/move them quarterly so they don't girdle the branches?  

Tonia at the HOS Arboretum has swapped over to the plastic spreaders that are seen as an alternative to the wire ones from that URL. Easy to disinfect between uses.

The previously used wooden rods (about 1/2"X1/2", or whatever you find) with finish nails at both ends with the heads clipped off have been abandoned. Trying to lessen the potential for disease transfer, particularly between stone fruit, but overall in general.

Multiple sizes are most useful. I've still a bucket full of wooden spreaders modeled after those, some being as long as 3' and 4' in length. Most in the 12"-24" range down to around 6" and everywhere in-between.

The tieing of loops around branches is an art in itself; so they don't become slip knots. The second end, under tension, is always a pause for consideration for me, but then I won't worry much about girdling if I don't return regularly to check.

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coolbrze
49 Posts
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6
January 24, 2020 - 6:50 am

What about using stiff wire for limb spreaders? If so, what size/gauge wire should I use?

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Viron
1400 Posts
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January 24, 2020 - 5:08 pm

My current method of spreading limbs are 1 X 2 inch lengths of wooden ‘stakes’ with a ‘V notch’ cut in both ends.  To keep them secure - and allow for varied lengths, I’ll sometimes drill a hole large enough for an insulated piece of 12 gauge wire to be slipped through at one or both ends.  Any additional length of wood can simply extend past the limb, using only the hole & wire to secure it.

Placing the V notch beneath a lateral branch or twig of 'the strongest' upright limb to be spread, I’ll drill, insert, loop and twist closed a long enough piece of the wire through a hole drilled at any length in the ‘wooden stake’ to secure the other branch to be spread.  The wire loop is large enough not to girdle - yet tight enough to catch and secure the limb.   

This has worked well; no adjustments necessary during the growing season; nothing attached to the ground to dodge; able to handle up to 3 year old limbs; and usually necessary for only one season.  

I’ll strip out the 12 gauge insulated wires from a grounded length of 3 or 4 conductor romex (house wire).  So the wires will be shielded with either black, white, or sometimes green or red plastic insulation. I suppose the bare copper ground wire would work, but I tend to use only the plastic coated wire, assuming it’s a bit more gentle on the bark..

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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8
January 28, 2020 - 7:44 pm

What Viron is saying is pretty much what i do.

John S
PDX OR

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