Root pruner proves an effective alternative for fruit tree growth regulation

Using a root pruner has become an increasingly popular method for growers to regulate tree growth without using chemicals over the last decade.

This technique has been widely used in the fruit-growing areas of Europe, and it has gained traction in the UK, with more and more farmers turning to it for effective tree growth regulation.

The banning of the growth regulators has naturally hastened the take-up of mechanical root pruning, and NP Seymour, the UK’s leading fruit and vine machinery specialist, has been able to meet this demand, stocking and supplying growers with the Agri-Com Boreco Root Pruner, a machine that has been continuously developed and used over the last ten years in Europe.

Nick Overy, a fruit grower from Burrs Hill with a 10-hectare orchard with Gala apples and blackcurrants for Ribena, is one of those growers who have found success with this tool.

The Agri-Com root pruner can be used with two straight blades at anywhere between 1470 and 3270mm centres. Each blade is put into, and out of work by its own hydraulic ram, so selective root pruning can be carried out with either tine being put out of work without lifting the whole machine.

The maximum working depth of the blades is 450mm, and the machine can also be used to mark out rows for planting, leaving a clean deep slot to plant into.

Having previously borrowed a root pruner from a neighbouring grower, Overy shares why they chose the Agri-Com: “We contacted the manufacturer directly as I was just looking at prices, and then we went with Seymours as they’re a local firm. They could offer the exact same model. We already knew that we liked how it worked – nice and simple and strongly built. I like the fact that it’s galvanised. The service from Seymours has been very good, and I would absolutely recommend them to other growers.”

While Nick still does a bit of chemical fruit thinning on his Gala, the mechanical root pruning is done annually, if the conditions are right, with the effects (fewer numbers of apples) present the following year.

The Agri-Com Root Pruner will need a good tractor with the right capabilities, at least 60HP, with plenty of pulling power and four-wheel drive, especially if they’re to be used in heavy soil or dry conditions.

As Burrs Hill is a productive sandstone site, Nick has a history of trees growing too vigorously, and the root pruner is an effective way of dealing with this. However, root pruning is not necessary for all growers.

“Some growers probably won’t need to root prune because they won’t have the extra growth that needs controlling. If you would benefit from using one, you don’t want to overdo it. We only go to one side of the tree, and avoid getting too close or taking it too deep. Selective root pruning can be done hydraulically.”

For more information on the Agri-Com root pruner please contact NP Seymour’s sales team on 01580 712200 or email sales@49857685943