I'm in my 10th yr. of Tall spindle.  I planted 1600 over two years and had
many of the same "problems" you describe with Feathers.  Many of my early
trees were practically devoid of branches. I stayed the course over yrs.3 &
4 allowing the trees to grow to the 10' height.  This worked perfectly by
yr 4 I produced a nice crop yr. 5 yielded over 22ton of apples.
Then, I started planting additional varieties in 80 to 100 tree blocks and
used Maxcell in multiple doses for two years where the feathers were thin.
It does seem to work.

However, some varieties have a penchant for growing up and not out leaving
3 & 4 ft sections of spindle with no branching.
I was given a study for "Northern Spey" that suggested making thin cuts in
early April in trunks around  suspected budding locations.  That gave us
some new growth and began to fill in nicely after two more years.

On Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 5:25 PM, Doug Nelson <> wrote:

> Forgot to mention the picture I have attached is an example of one of
> these poorly feather trees. My wires are two feet apart so you can see that
> this tree is almost seven foot tall.
> On Jul 3, 2017 4:22 PM, Doug Nelson <>
> wrote:
> I'm in my second year of growing apples. This year we planted 5000 apple
> trees tall spindle style. These will be used for upick.
> The nursery I bought from gave me about a thousand terrible trees with
> almost no feathers.
> I have sprayed heavily with Maxell to encourage lateral bud growth. Has
> not work that well.
> My Orchard is located right next to one of the Chicagolands largest
> commercial tree nurseries. The field manager of the nursery recently
> stopped by and told me he would encourage lateral growth by heading all of
> these poorly feathered trees.
> I know the rule with tall spindle is generally you never had the tree, but
> I think the assumption  is that you have a lot of feathers.
> Has anyone ever headed poorly feather trees to encourage lateral growth?
> What were your results?
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Michael D. Vaughn
Owner / Manager
Pie-In-the-Sky Orchards
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