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Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

Posted by Lisa.H KY (My Page) on
Sun, May 19, 13 at 11:52

Hello. I have a few dwarf apple trees from Stark Bros that were planted last spring and are now between 5-6' tall. I know I should spread the limbs away from the central leader and was just looking for some advice on what is the best method for doing this. I've heard of using spreaders wedged between the limb and the leader to increase the angle as well as tying a weight onto the branch to pull it down. What method would you recommend? The limbs I would like to spread are probably around 1/4"-5/8" in diameter where they meet the leader. I pruned off anything last fall with a narrow crotch angle, so I don't really have a need to increase the angle where the limb connects, but rather just want to encourage the branches to grow more horizontally. What do you advise? And what do you recommend using to spread or weigh down the branches? Is it something I could make myself or would I be better off buying some specifically made for that purpose (I saw some spreaders advertised at the Stark Bros website)? Thank you for the help!

This post was edited by Lisa.H on Sun, May 19, 13 at 12:20


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sun, May 19, 13 at 13:09

I tied off to a stake or weight on the ground. This has the advantage of being able to move the limb both vertically and horizontally. So you can often move it to fill in an opening in the canopy rather than just pulling it down.

I tie a short loop in the string about a foot short of the limb and run the string over the limb and tie off to the top. This way the limb isn't girdled.


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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

  • Posted by skyjs z8 OR, USA (My Page) on
    Sun, May 19, 13 at 14:25

I do both. I use a strap or at least several loops if it's string so like fruitnut said, it doesn't girdle the branch. Sometimes I use a section of bicycle inner tube so it's not too much pressure on one point.
John S
PDX OR


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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

14 guage wire. it's the easiest thing around and reusable go to www.qdmaforums.com and search for wire and training lots of good info on how to do it


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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

Garden string and a big rock.


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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

I've done both. I've had issues messing up buds with wire, so I use wood spreaders and/or hanging stuff.


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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

Commercial growers often use spreaders because they are quick and affective. Weights are difficult because what seems right might be too heavy over time and you end up with a broken or pendulant branch.

Here's a link where you can buy individual Treform spreaders which are quite excellent.

Here is a link that might be useful: treform spreaders


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RE: Spreading vs. Weighing Down Limbs??

I use 7 inch rubber bands to pull down my limbs tied to the central leader or support pole. They are cheap and a quick install.

Here is a link that might be useful: 7 inch bands


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