February 21, 2019
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:
March 16, 2015
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.
March 21, 2016
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!
February 21, 2019
March 25, 2015
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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