Return to the Fruit & Orchards Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
espalier questions

Posted by hairmetal4ever Z7 MD (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 13:56

I've long been interested in, but never tried, espaliered trees. I am planning to put in an orchard next year, probably about 10 trees total.

I've thought of trying to espalier. If I do, they'd be freestanding, as I don't need the extra heat or longer season of putting against a wall.

There are several reasons I'd like to try it.

First, frost protection. I'm a bit further inland & further out of an urbanized area than my fellow Marylander scottfsmith, and do get some late freezes he probably doesn't. As an example, there was a morning around the beginning of this month where it was 21F on my back porch. Therefore I want to at least be prepared, and I figure a 2-dimensional tree would be easier to cover than a globular one...

Secondly, harvesting & maintenance is easier.

Few questions:

1. Is there somewhere I can find a GOOD all-around guide to espaliering?

2. I know apples & pears can be done. What about peaches, plums, cots, and cherries?

3. For non-spurring trees like peach that bear on last year's wood, is it done differently?

4. Does it reduce per-tree yield to do this? I know on a per-acre basis it can increase it...but should I presume to plant more trees over a smaller space (row-wise, I realize on the plane of the espalier I'd still need sufficient branch spread room)?

5. Does it make it take longer to come into bearing?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: espalier questions

I'm not an expert and I've only worked on espaliered citrus and am now doing a pomegranate as well, but I did do a lot of reading before I started.

I suggest you do some Googling for both images and text. There are a lot of resources available. I don't think one place covers it all. That said, this is an interesting site with an unusual approach that would work with apples and pears but perhaps not with the others:

http://www.woodbridgefruittrees.com.au/woodbridgefruittrees/articles/162-espaliering-made-even-easier---knnn-method.html

As for your questions, to the best of my ability:

1. see above
2 and 3. Yes, stone fruits can be done but most sources recommend fans or informal espaliers for these. For cherries there is a new method in which the leader is bent essentially horizontal and the branches tied vertically. called the U.F.O. system:

http://cahnrs-cms.wsu.edu/StoneFruit/research/Pages/ufo.aspx

Other systems (like fans) rely on renewal pruning to generate fruiting wood. Again, lots of online resources on this topic.

4. I think it's safe to say that unless you have a really large espalier you might get a smaller yield than from a traditional tree. But think about it...how many people are constantly trying to give away mediocre quality fruit from their trees which simply produce too much? This is also one of the ideas behind the back-yard orchard concept. It's nice to see trees perform so generously, but seriously, what are you going to do with all that fruit at once? (unless, of course, you sell it).

5. Not sure about this. I suspect it varies with the type of tree. The horizontal angles of a cordon-type espalier will certainly contribute to early fruiting. Between espalier training and directed pruning to build a good structure, it's probably a wash for many trees (with some exceptions like an owari satsuma which grows sooooooooooo slowly........)


 o
RE: espalier questions

"I know apples & pears can be done. What about peaches, plums, cots, and cherries? "

I have seen plums done in the Dave Wilson Nursery videos. Traditional Espalier, 3 wire horizontal.
Cherries and peaches are often done in England as a fan. I read about the technique in "Growing Fruit"
by Harry Baker of the Royal Horticulture Society.
Yes it is done differently if no spurs. At least the fan technique seems to be a way to do it,
It's not super detailed in the book, but the technique is illustrated for you. It appears you develop replacement laterals for fresh fruiting wood. Old time peach cultivars may be better for this as they often produce fruiting wood on old branches, unlike many new cultivars. At least that is what I hear.
Anyway yes you can do this with sweet or tart cherry, peach, almond, etc.


 o
RE: espalier questions

Looks like the fan technique is essentially a "flat" open center. Rather than a "vase" shape it's a "V" shape kept relatively "flat"...is that accurate?


 o
RE: espalier questions

Yes, exactly, the book is good. You use bamboo tied to trellis to guide fan blades. Instruction for pruning each year. The Royal Horticulture series also has a book on pruning which may even be more detailed.
I want to do a red currant cordon myself. Maybe next year, too much to do this year.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Fruit & Orchards Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here