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bulk sources for limb spreaders

Posted by Nathaniel Bouman 
bulk sources for limb spreaders
February 22, 2015 09:00PM
Was hoping to hear about limb spreaders. I've tried various things on a hobby scale: wooden clothespins (or C-47's as they're known in Hollywood), dowels with finish nails pounded in each end then clip the head off, strings and weights, etcetera. I've found that all three of these limb spreading tools have their place in a hobby orchard. As I'm scaling up, I don't want to be spending my time making a billion nail-pounded dowels in various sizes if I can avoid it. When I search on the web, though, I find a dearth of reasonably priced limb spreaders sold in sufficient quantities. For instance, Boyer Nurseries sells 4" metal spreaders for $0.30 a piece which seems pricey to me for a commercial orchard that might need 4 per tree and be working with over 1,000 trees (I'm just 550 trees).
I'd love to hear about good deals on limb spreaders or time-saving DIY solutions for community/commercial scale orchards.

Nat Bouman
Growing cider varieties in Zone 5b
On B.118 at 18X24
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/2015 07:00PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Limb spreading
February 26, 2015 08:23AM
Finger Lakes Trellis Supply in NY has what they call training rods. They are lengths of very light gauge wire that can be attached to a branch and anchored to the trunk below. These only work on very young and flexible branches and must not be left on the tree too long or the tree will quickly grow around the thin wire. Cost is about 2.5 cents per piece.

Clair Kauffman
Zone 6b, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Re: Limb spreading
February 26, 2015 01:14PM
Hey, that looks like a good and cheap option.

Nat Bouman
Growing cider varieties in Zone 5b
On B.118 at 18X24
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Re: Limb spreading
March 01, 2015 11:28AM
Buying a bundle of lathe board (4 footers) and then cutting you own wood vee spreaders provides a custom range of lengths for little money. Nail point spreaders are readily made if you purchase the double-ended brad points made for this purpose. And then there's Wilson Orchard & Vineyard Supply selling both versions in bundles of 100.

A bulk source for shorter-sized red plastic spreaders has fallen off my radar. Stark Brothers sells
these in packages of 10; choose from 6, 9, 1nd 12 inch lengths. But these would be pricey for a commercial grower. MP6 in Traverse City, Michigan manufactures Twiggeeze spreaders ... you can get twice again the range of lengths in full box quantities if you open a commercial account.

Zinc-coated vee spreaders by Treeform in Ontario are carried by a number of distributors.

High density training calls for less rigid options for green shoots with trellis/ stake tie points. Peach Ridge Orchard Supply offers a range of rubber bands, toothpicks, clothes pins and so forth, as do others. Light gauge wire is in this class.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Limb spreading
March 01, 2015 04:43PM
I haven't had to do a lot of spreading but what I have done is use one of my pruned branches , preferably off the same tree . One end I look for a " Y " which can be braced against a branch on the " spread limb " ( or a cloths pin can be used as an anchor ) the other end gets cut to lenght and tucked into the crook of a higher branch . If need be a brad nail can be inserted and the head cut off .
Something else I've done , One customer dropped off a ton of grocery " T- shirt " bags ( for me to recycle ) . These I slide along to the appropriate spot along the branch weighed down with some rocks or sand . These tend to get pushed around by the wind but again a cloths pin holds them in place . By the end of the summer they may have degraded enough to dump there load and removal is simple with a pair of scissors and into the regular recycle . The thing to remeber here is that the branch will go lower then where you have it at this time , you may have to adjust things . I did worry about " things " growing under the bag but that hasn't been a challenge to date .

Hillview Heritage Farm
Zone 5*in British Columbia
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