John Wilton

About John Wilton

Horticultural Consultant, Agfirst, New Zealand

An exposé on pome fruit rootstocks

The Future Orchards® theme in the next 12 months is looking at ‘future trees’ - this article is the first discussing this new theme and focuses below the ground on rootstocks. For well over a century and, in the case of Europe many centuries, apples and pears have been grown on clonal rootstocks. In that [...]

By |April 1st, 2017|Future Orchards, Varieties and rootstock|

Pushing orchard performance boundaries

AgFirst’s John Wilton hones in on some key factors – particularly chemical thinning in the lead up to spring – that orchardists can concentrate on to optimise yield and fruit colour.  In preparation for writing this article I spent some time trawling through our OrchardNet™ Australian database. The database shows that in general, Australian orchard yield performance is climbing. The two major varieties [...]

Orchard redevelopment

By John Wilton A sustainable orchard business needs to have a planned orchard redevelopment programme in order to maintain its variety mix and plantings at a profitable level of production and returns. This planning needs to be long term, at least five years out and preferably longer. Good orchard performance data should be the basis [...]

By |May 27th, 2016|Future Orchards, Grafting, Orchard design and density|

Year-round quality management begins after harvest

By John Wilton AgFirst’s John Wilton explains how growing high quality fruit needs a whole-of-year focus because the production year begins immediately after harvest and finishes with a successful harvest next year. This intensive block was grafted to a double leader system two years ago – it is now set up for a substantial [...]

Pre-harvest orchard performance appraisal

By John Wilton Just before harvest is a great time to assess the performance of your orchard management strategy, so there is time to start implementing changes to optimise next season’s crop. I consider that just prior to harvest commencing is a key time to view the orchard and its crop. It is at this [...]

By |January 29th, 2016|Future Orchards, Harvest management|

High orchard performance depends on good thinning

By John Wilton, AgFirst The 2014/15 season was a very good time for pome fruit across Australia. The positive results were partly due to a kinder than normal climate for growing apples but this appears to have been a minor factor.  These second leaf red strain of Cripps Pink have failed to colour well [...]

Spring crop management

By John Wilton This tree flowered for about six weeks. At the time the photo was taken the flowering sites ranged from tight cluster to early stages of petal fall. The chemical thinners lifted fruitlet rather than reduced it. As we head towards Spring, AgFirst’s John Wilton shares his advice and expert tips [...]

Post-harvest orchard management

By John Wilton After this year’s harvest it’s time to get tree nutrition, pruning and branch training right to ensure next season’s crop is a good one. These Cripps Pink trees were spring trained. Note the strong upright shoot growth and poor terminal extension growth. Delaying branch training until the autumn avoids these problems. [...]

By |January 30th, 2015|Future Orchards, Harvest management|