Training Apple Tree with plastic spreaders

I didn’t find the appropriate thread to tack these pictures onto, its probably out there, so I created this one.

I’ve seen some new types of branch spreaders since I last bought some 20 years ago, so I decided to pick some and give them a try.

This tree has good crotch angles already, probably from clothes pins when the limbs were green, but wants to turn sharply upward and be a narrow tree. These show some improvement and were very easy to install:


I should probably head back the longer scaffolds. I think I was waiting to see what would bloom and set before pruning. I’m more interested in trying a few apples ASAP than getting to full production as quickly as possible.


Also, what a beautifully kept orchard!

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You are kind.

I like the plastic spreaders. In interesting shape. I have some red spreaders I bough from Stark Bros a few years back that I starting using. I have posted a few pictures of the shape of the ones I have. They come in different lengths to use.
I agree, nice looking orchard. I need to mulch my trees like that ( I’ve said that since 2013- and they still are not mulched yet).

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What length of the spreaders you use? They are so many lengths to choose from.

These ones I got on Amazon, but also available on eBay. The Blue ones like these are the longer of the 2 sizes I’ve seen in this shape. They are about 5 inches long:

@MikeC Those red ones are the ones I had from many years back. They are more difficult to use, and don’t seem as secure as these.

The way the mulch situation works is, we save cardboard boxes from packages and such and store them flat on our covered deck. When we get too many my wife decides we need to do something about it, and suggests we spread mulch. That’s the extent to which she cares that anything gets mulched, but she is the catalyst. She’ll pull off the cattle panel cages, and arrange a layer of cardboard while I shuttle wood chips with the compact tractor front loader.

Getting chips is another wild card. In this case, I think I posted elsewhere, I wound up paying hundreds of dollars for mulch because my wife decided mulch would be spread right away.

The cage in the foreground was probably last mulched 2 years back, and weeds are starting to get the upper hand.


I like the shape of the blue ones you are using. The red ones are just “okay” not great but do a so-so job until there is a lot of wind. Then the red ones seem to fall off.

This is my first time using these, but they seem to lock in well.

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I like the blue ones. They seem to have a more secure lock-in position than the red ones. Only 5” long?. They looked longer in the pic.

Thank you for your response.

The Amazon listing shows the dimensions in mm. The long side is roughly 5".