My suggestion is not to head the leader unless it has reached its maximum 
height, then head it back to a weak lateral in winter.   As you mentioned, 
tie-down the leader in early spring, but don’t forget to bring it back up after 
bud break and before it stiffens in mid-summer (early July in Illinois). You 
can also make a notch above dormant buds on the leader to break the apical 
dominance effect.  Or you can brush/spray the blind-wood areas of the leader 
with Promalin.  Promalin is a growth regulator, so its effect is subject to 
many factors including temperature, rootstock, tree vigor, spur/non spur, etc.
Mosbah Kushad, University of Illinois

From: apple-crop [] On Behalf Of 
Doug Nelson
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2017 9:01 AM
Subject: [Apple-Crop] When to Head or Tie Down Tall Tall Spindle to promote 
lateral growth?

I have second year old tall spindles. Some of them are near the maximum height. 
Most of them do not have enough lateral growth. When should I head the tree or 
Shepard hook the top of the tree down with twine?

I am next to a commercial tree nursery. They Shepard hook tie down in Spring to 
promote lateral growth. A few youtube videos about tall spindle indicate to do 
head in mid summer if the trees are tall enough. No one has ever talked about 
shepard hooking tall spindle. The literature I can find online is silent on 
heading or shepard hooks.

Doug Nelson
The Bluffs
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