The half standard is the most popular of the classic open centre goblet shaped fruit tree forms for gardens particularly when the tree forms a feature in a lawn area. It is also very popular form for traditional domestic orchards in a grassed area such as a paddock. The trees are a reasonable size but are not too large to be difficult to manage. In commercial apple growing this form is still used in cider orchards as it allows for the apples to be mechanically shaken off the tree and swept up from under the trees.
The half standard form can be used for all types of fruit trees on a range of rootstocks but it is most commonly used for trees on semi-vigorous rootstocks to produce medium sized trees which are not going to grow more than 4m (13ft) in height and spread when mature. The actual length of the clear trunk is typically 1.2m (4ft).
Before the start of growth in their second year we cut back the centre leader of the maiden trees back to 1.35m (4ft 6in) and remove any lower branches. This results in the development of a head of branches between 1.2m and 1.35m (4ft and 4ft 6in) above ground. At the end of the summer we remove any low branches to give a clear trunk of 1.2m (4ft).
The photo opposite top shows examples of bare root two year old half standard trained apple trees as we supply them. The tree on the right is one of our regular priced half standard trained trees. The one on the left is a reduced price tree with a less developed head. Below this is a photo of a mature half standard trained apple tree at our nursery. At the bottom is a photo of half standard trained apple trees in the nursery in early autumn prior to lifting.
Our half standard trained trees are mainly on semi-vigorous rootstocks - apples on MM106 rootstock, pears and quinces on Quince A or Pyrodwarf rootstock, cherries on Colt rootstock, plums and other stone fruit on St Julien A or Adaptabil rootstock. We occasionally produce some half standard trained trees on vigorous rootstocks such as apples on MM111 or semi-dwarfing rootstocks such as plums on WA-VIT rootstock.