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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year ending July 1, 1921
Vol. LI (1921)

Roberts, R. H.
Off-year apple bearing,   pp. 72-78 PDF (1.8 MB)

Page 75

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cases between off-year trees and regular bearing trees is -the
difference in the formation of blossom buds on second-year wood.
The off-year tree as we find it about the state makes a short
terminal growth, rarely over five or six inches. Generally one or
two small spurs form on the second-year wood of the off-year
tree. On the other hand, regular bearing trees make a terminal
growth of ten, twelve, or fifteen inches. They form a number of
spurs along this growth the next season and these spurs are
generally more vegetative than those of the off-year trees and
many of them are fruiting spurs, so that the regular bearing tree
is regular in bearing very largely because blossom buds form on
spurs of second-year wood each season. The new spurs of off-
year trees do not form blossom buds unless the whole tree is
coming into bearing. The spurs of regular bearing trees form
blossom buds irrespective of whether the tree is fruiting or not,
and that is one of the most important differences between regu-
lar bearing and biennially bearing trees.
When you get a vegetative condition in the trees, that gives
one of these situations, usually you get all four of them coming
The second big difference is, instead of some to many spurs
remaining undervegetative and unfruitful year after year, they
make enough growth during a fruiting year to form blossom buds
while other spurs are fruiting. This gives regular bearing
through different spurs fruiting in different years.
The third difference is that some spurs blossom in successive
seasons. This does not have a very great bearing, however, on
regular fruitfulness, because it is unusual for a spur to produce
fruits in- successive years. It is generally the spur which drops
its blossoms early in the season which produces a blossom bud
again that year.
- A fourth difference between regular bearing and off-bearing
trees is that there is some terminal fruiting on the regular bear-
ing tree, and quite a little bit of lateral blossom bud formation.
That is, blossom bud formation on the current season's growth.
So we propose that blossom bud formation on off-year bearing
and regular bearing trees is related to growth conditions in
apple trees.
Now the question comes up, if we attempt to produce regular
bearing in the orchard, what to do from the cultural, fertilizer and

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