Hello Maurice and all

Consider that we are growing apple trees in very good conditions of soil 
climate and light (parallel 45°) and that the aim of the game is to adapt the 
training system to the conditions you get for your orchard

1/ In the original concept we do not give a pyramidal shape, the thickness 
should be 1/2 meter wide (top to bottom) at beginning and then increase 
slightly with age. Our oldest orchard remains below a meter wide. This is very 
thin !

2/ That's the key point. The pruning date has to be fine tuned to match the 
goal (making what we call "brindilles" that's the small shoot 15 - 20cm long, 
crowned with a flower bud), on our orchard with all varieties/rootstocks and 
situations we are pruning on a 10 days period. 
We are not very confident with conversions.


4/Ok, but it comes when it comes, no relation with cosmology... (yet) ;-))

5/ yes that's the explanation from Louis Lorette who did a theorization of 
summer pruning in early 20th. In our case I am afraid that we did a more 
empirical work, designing trials to find the best pruning date in our 
conditions. The 10 leaves date, seems to work for France.

6/ The flat shape gives all fruit an homogeneous exposition to light. We have 
less sunburn/white faces in some varieties (granny).

7/ not really in our conditions, we prune each year the same place/thickness

8/ we are planting 3.5m between rows and 1m (single axis) or 1m50 (bi axe 
trees) or 2m (palmettes) on the row. The height (for M9 stocks) of the row is 
topped mechanically at 3m5, this should be linked with the "apple crop" 
discussion on tree row space height (parallel 45°). Of course we do have trial 
with higher density and lower density. The more dense the higher early crop, 
the higher the cost, but full crop potential remains identical when the hedge 
row if fully established.

9/ yes but we do not encourage conversion. More to discuss if wishes come

10/ that's clever of course but we are in an area with a high fireblight 
pressure, we never saw an increase of fireblight infection following mechanical 
pruning. More to discuss if wishes

11/ yes sure

12/ yes could be (depends on the initial orchard), but should be unbearable for 
a smart orchardist who loves its trees... grown to respect trees, their natural 

13/ yes our main efforts at the moment are aiming at adapting mechanical 
thinning to the orchard, "darwin" a German device, works very well in this 
training system. More to discuss on this point

14/ yes, the later you apply mechanical thinning the more you can get strips 
marks on the fruits. More to discuss on this

15/ I would not say that. When you make trials comparing training system, the 
best one is the one that you are supporting, training the best... So the answer 
is difficult. 
To mention drawbacks, considering  crop yield I would say identical, size 
slightly lower, harvest date 5 days later. Some varieties adapt well, some not. 
Of course type 4 varieties (granny) suits well and type1 varieties like spurs 
of red delicious are more difficult to adapt (but possible). Adapting 
variety/stock to the conditions is the same burden compared to other training 

16/ the better fruit exposition gives more homogeneous color fruit. No fruit 
hidden inside the canopy

17/ yes correct, this does not seem coherent with fruit exposition but this is 
measured in our conditions.

18/ labor : standard pruning in our condition is about 200h per 
hectare(10000m²) mechanical pruning is 2h per ha, one year over you have to 
make hand pruning in the "mur fruitier" for forgotten shoots 50h per ha. The 
main effect on work is on harvest efficiency in our condition an average picker 
man harvests 150kg per hour in central leader and 200kg per hour in "mur 
fruitier" due to easier fruit access.

In our mind the concept is devoted at producing average quality grade fruit for 
export standards, not best quality, just standard quality with average size, 
very regular, with less picking phases since all fruit is coming from the same 
type of wood/exposition. The goal is to match the requisites : firmness, size, 
chemical restrictions... Labor quantity is one thing but labor quality is 
another one. At the moment, we do need such skill for our pruners (central 
leader) that it is becoming difficult to find the right people to do the job. 
The "market share" in new plantings in France for the "mur fruitier" can be 
evaluated to 5% though we do not have clear data on this point. To make the job 
you need at least a pruning machine, the entry ticket is expensive so you have 
to share a pruning machine or build a 10 ha bloc... ad libitum

Best regards

Jean Marc Jourdain

-----Message d'origine-----
De : apple-crop-boun...@virtualorchard.net 
[mailto:apple-crop-boun...@virtualorchard.net] De la part de maurice tougas
Envoyé : samedi 2 avril 2011 12:58
À : Apple-crop discussion list
Objet : Re: [apple-crop] "Pommier, Le Mur Fruiter"


Please comment/correct my impressions of what principles are involved
with the le Mur fruitier system.

1) The tree form result is a wall which is 1 meter thick at the base,
1/2 meter wide at the top.

2) Mechanical pruning consists of a single annual shearing at 6 to
8/10 leaves upon the fruiting shoot. Exception being first year
conversion when a single shearing would additionally take place as
buds break in the spring.

3) That initial spring shearing stimulates numerous points of growth,
which will later be sheared at the 6-10 leaf shearing.

4) The shearing at 6-10 leaves is timed to coincide with a relatively
short period of time before summer solstice.

5) This shearing shortly before solstice allows for short extension of
growth. As solstice is passed, days begin to become shorter. As days
become shorter, tree is keyed to shift from vegetative growth to
reproductive, and so extension growth is limited and conversion of
growth to fruiting bud initiation begins.

6) With total width of no more than 1 meter, sunlight needs to travel
no more than 1/2 meter to reach trunk (assuming north/south
orientation), and so an adequate amount of sunlight exposure is
maintained though out  the canopy.

7) Depth or severity of pruning is determined by crop load. If crop is
heavy, then more severe, or deeper shearing is employed.

8) Tree planting distance is 80cm by 3 meters.

9) Conversion from axis, tall spindle and super spindle tree forms are possible.

10) Hedging must occur when dry weather is predicted and conditions
for fireblight infection are not high.

11) The year of conversion will result in significant yield reduction.

12) Initial spring shearing year of conversion should be at 40 cm from
the trunk at the base, tapering to 20 cm at the top.

13) Mechanical thinning of blossoms is encouraged by this system.

14) Mechanical thinning should take place at the pink bud stage.

15) Yield increase of 10% as compared to traditional hand pruned trees
is expected.

16) Increase in red color is expected.

17) Decrease in fruit sunburn is expected.

18) Total reduction in labor requirements is expected in the range of 10%.

You are most kind to comment on these impressions. If there are
additional points you believe I should consider, please feel free to
bring them into the discussion.

Thank you again,

Maurice Tougas
Fruit grower
Northborough, MA

On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 12:29 PM, maurice tougas
<appleman.maur...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello Jean,
> This must be my lucky day.
> Je dois traiter ma femme à dîner ce soir!
> I will soon develop a list of questions for you.
> Thank you so much for your offer.
> Maurice
> 2011/4/1 Jourdain Jean-Marc <jourd...@ctifl.fr>
>> Hi Maurice
>> To my knowledge there is no translation of the book. Since the concept was 
>> created in our orchards here in Lanxade Centre (near Bergerac South West of 
>> France), I shall be able to answer all questions.
>> The first rows of this training system were planted in 1995 for better 
>> access to fruit, since we were hosting a robotic harvester program at that 
>> time. Then the robotic program fell down, too much cost, too poor yield, 
>> then we decided to go on with the orchard.
>> Jean Marc Jourdain
>> Ctifl
>> Centre manager
>> Jourdain(at)Ctifl.fr
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: maurice tougas <appleman.maur...@gmail.com>
>> Date: Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 7:24 AM
>> Subject: "Pommier, Le Mur Fruiter"
>> To: Andre Tougas <tougasf...@gmail.com>
>> Croppers,
>> Does anyone know of a translated version of "Pommier, le Mur fruitier"?
>> I am intrigued by the concept of this system after having traveled to 
>> Belgium last week scouting visits for the IFTA study tour this summer. We 
>> saw example of orchards trated with this system, and will be visiting them 
>> in July. The above publication appears to be the best coverage of the system 
>> I've seen.
>> Alas, mon papa is no longer with me to help me with this.
>> Maurice Tougas
>> --
>> Maurice Tougas
>> Tougas Family Farm
>> Northborough,MA 01532
>> 508-450-0844
>> --
>> Maurice Tougas
>> Tougas Family Farm
>> Northborough,MA 01532
>> 508-450-0844
>> _______________________________________________
>> apple-crop mailing list
>> apple-crop@virtualorchard.net
>> http://virtualorchard.net/mailman/listinfo/apple-crop
> --
> Maurice Tougas
> Tougas Family Farm
> Northborough,MA 01532
> 508-450-0844

Maurice Tougas
Tougas Family Farm
Northborough,MA 01532
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