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Please review my espalier plan

Posted by peachymomo Ca 8 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 16, 13 at 12:16

After much hemming and hawing I have come up with a plan for the espalier orchard I would like to plant in the fall. I have a space that is 56' x 8' and I want to squeeze as many fruit trees as I can into it. I'm not bothered by the fact that different types of trees will grow differently, I want a variety of fruits more than a piece of living artwork. In the back row I plan on training the trees into informal fan shapes, while the front will be kept as low 'stepover' cordons.

Does anyone see any major flaws with this plan? I tried to choose fruits that are tasty and come on relatively small trees.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Well, it looks like there aren't any objections to my idea. I think I'm going to go ahead and do it, now I just have to wait until conditions are good for planting.

Here's a pic of the spot I'm going to use, in a few years I hope to post more that show my new espalier orchard in all it's glory.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

The only espaliering I've done yet on edible shrubs/trees is a fig, and it hasn't been enough years to say how well that will end up for me. The fig is taking to it nicely as far as the room available goes, so I can say that much.

Two things I wonder about your plan: do step-over espaliers create much shade (because you'll need very good sun for the figs, at least)? You'll have to think hard about sun orientation, like in vineyard management (imho).

And if the plan is not an 'island' planting, you'll need to consider path widths. If the plan is open to the front, sides and back, you may be OK there. My fig espalier is where I can walk right up to the full plant on the wall, so I don't know how much space is good for a double row of all your varieties with no paths in between. If the total width isn't too much, you could still reach everything you'd need to, I'd think (4 feet in each direction).

If you'd have to reach the full 8 feet, that seems like a problem, imho.

Like I said, I have limited experience in fruit espalier, but I thought I'd give you my thoughts :) It sounds beautiful if everything works out.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Thanks for the response!

I was thinking that a stepover espalier would be better for the front row because it is short, so it should cast less shade on the row behind it. The fence is south facing, so as long as they front row is shorter than the back I think it should be okay.

The area will be between the driveway (where the gate and gravel are) and the fence. The back row will be 6" from the fence and the front row will be 8' from the fence, so there will be 7.5' of open space between the two rows. Once everything is installed I will decide whether or not to have some narrow beds for low-growing veggies and herbs in the middle, if I do they will be 1' wide so that I'll still have at least 3' pathways on either side. Getting to everything shouldn't be a problem, I think.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

So far I've only worked with citrus espaliers although I did start a pomegranate this year. Neither species has been annoyingly vigorous so far (still filling out the cordons on the citrus).

My only concern is the grapes. Yipes. Grapes can really take off. They are not kiwis, mind you, but they can really grow in a season. All that trailing and tangle might be a trial.


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Oh, that makes sense. I let my fig be sort of a 3-D espalier with a flat back, so it has more width, and that's what I was picturing for some reason. I have a firethorn I do very flat and formal, so I gotcha now.

In my zone the fig runs the risk of cold injury in a bad winter, so I keep it bushier while still being trained on a wall; that's all. It's like a bushy fan :D


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

I'm afraid you might be right about the grapes, I really want them but I'm thinking that it might be better to find a spot somewhere else where they can climb over an arbor. I was looking at the vines I planted over at my Mom's house and thinking what a nightmare it would be to try to keep them smaller than they are there, which is as a 5' high double cordon.

In my zone figs don't have trouble with cold injury in winter, the issue is lack of summer heat to get them to ripen. So I picked varieties that are good for cool summer climates (thanks for the advice, Fruitnut!) and I'm planting them against the fence in hopes that the reflected heat helps some. I know wood isn't as good a stone, but it certainly feels hotter right next to the fence than it does out in the middle of the yard.

Any advice about what to do with the dirt in the time between now and planting season? Would it be better to leave it as is, or bring in some compost and mulch and spread it around the area to start enriching the soil?


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

You can never improve the soil too much.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Peachymomo: a big THANK YOU for sharing your plans. They were super helpful as I am trying to figure out what to do with the 8 ft wide by 24 ft length space on the side of my driveway.

I think it's GREAT idea to spread compost and mulch over the planting area now, so that it will have time to naturally work into your native soil before you start planting.

PLEASE, PLEASE keep us update with the progress of your planting project and share lots of pictures. I am especially curious to see what kind of support you use for the Espaillard plants.

Steve_in_los_osos: Will you please share pictures of your citrus and Pomagranate. Also, what kind of citrus did you plant? What variety of Pomagranate did you plant? I am in zone 10a and I'm also considering a citrus and Pomagranate. I'm trying to decide on what variety to plant.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Peachymomo: a big THANK YOU for sharing your plans. They were super helpful as I am trying to figure out what to do with the 8 ft wide by 24 ft length space on the side of my driveway.

I think it's GREAT idea to spread compost and mulch over the planting area now, so that it will have time to naturally work into your native soil before you start planting.

PLEASE, PLEASE keep us update with the progress of your planting project and share lots of pictures. I am especially curious to see what kind of support you use for the Espaillard plants.

Steve_in_los_osos: Will you please share pictures of your citrus and Pomagranate. Also, what kind of citrus did you plant? What variety of Pomagranate did you plant? I am in zone 10a and I'm also considering a citrus and Pomagranate. I'm trying to decide on what variety to plant.


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Here are some pictures I took this morning:

Pomegranate (first season):

This is "freestanding" in an area of my yard that gets really warm when the sun shines but loses the sun (mostly) in the winter. Up against the south side of the house would have been better but there is no soil there and there is always the problem of painting if you install espaliers against your house.

The citrus espaliers are in their second season in the back yard, against a south-facing fence at the rear of the vegetable garden. Right now the eureka lemon is more or less obscured by a stand of asparagus but the sun is still high enough to get to the lower tier of the espalier. By the time this is no longer true, I will have cut down the asparagus. Not ideal, but it's the space I have:

This was the most mature of the three trees I planted when I beheaded it to start the process. And lemons grow like weeds anyway, so it's the farthest along.

The owari satsuma mandarin was the runt of the pack, having languished in a pot for a few years after being being rescued from a close-out sale. And mandarins are slow growers, so it has not filled out very much. Probably should have bought a new, larger tree to start:

The trovita orange was a newly purchased tree which I then beheaded to start the training:

Here's a view of the 24 ft. of citrus:


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Steve_los_osos: Your espailer plants and structure look awesome! Thank you for taking the time to share all those pictures. It's what I aspire to have at my place.

Right now all I have is a long narrow dirt area between my driveway and my neighbor's driveway. I would like to create structure similar to yours along our property line to give a little sense of separation and also, make the space useful and beautiful.

I was debating whether to plant ornamental trees and plants or fruit trees. I was leaning towards ornamentals... But after seeing how you have grown yours on these neat and asthetically pleasing structures... I have been converted. I think especially if I add lots of flowering herbs, maybe a blueberry bush, and scatter a few white iceberg shrub roses around the espailered trees, it can look like a beautiful edible garden. Thank you for the inspiration!

Did ou design and build the structure yourself? If so, would you be willing to share your plans for your structure? Is there anything you would do differently if you were building it again?

Peachymomo: it is now fall, have you started your planting yet?


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Steve_in_los_osos:
How much do you figure it cost to build the structure for your trees? I am trying to see if it is within my budget to build the structure you have.

Are all of your tree standard varieties or dwarf varieties? Is one kind better for espailer than another?

To Everyone:
Let me know if you have any fruit tree recommendations. I currently have a Dwarf Meyer lemon and a dwarf eureka lemon in pots.... I am thinking about adding a Kishu Mandarine, a white pomegranate... But not sure what else. Hmmm... Maybe a lemonade tree or persimmon or thornless lime, or kaffir lime... Any thoughts or personal recommendations???


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How much did it cost? Always too much :-)

The posts (4x4x8', PT) are about $10 ea. They are set in the ground from 2.5 to3 ft. deep. I didn't use concrete. I did use a piece of metal electrical conduit (painted, super cheap, maybe $2 ea.) near the top of each pair of posts as a sort of deterrent to the posts pulling together from the wire tension.

The real expense is the hardware. All those turnbuckles and eye bolts add up. I thought about using just four turnbuckles and putting the wires on the faces of the posts but I was afraid the outer posts would twist in the ground from the tension. I tried using just one turnbuckle for a span but I couldn't get the individual tiers tight except the one with the turnbuckle. The wire just would not slide through the eye bolts as the turnbuckle was tightened. Maybe with three or four people working together this could be done, but I could not do it.

So....I threw money at it. That means each tree required four turnbuckles ($3-4 ea?), eight eye bolts (maybe $1 ea) and 4 little cable clamps (or you could theoretically twist the wire over itself after looping through the turnbuckles). 100 ft. of galvanized wire was enough for three trees (posts are 8 ft. apart). Maybe $12 there.

If your ground is level (mine is sloped) you might be able to drill holes in the posts and use just four eye bolts and four turnbuckles for the whole set of trees (although drilling holes in the posts invites rot....)

Thoughts on your physical situation: will the espaliers run east-west or north-south? My citrus run east-west because that south-facing fence is a kind of heat sink (I live in a heat-poor marine climate). The pomegranate runs north-south (better for balanced sun exposure since both sides get sun as it "moves" across the sky). Either can work, but the north side of an east-west espalier is not going to be very productive or grow as vigorously. That might be a good thing, or not so much.

Will you have convenient access to both sides (since this will be free standing)? Espaliers do require clipping to keep them in shape and stimulate new growth, especially citrus which fruit on new wood. Too much clipping, however, will never give the tree a chance to flower and fruit. And....nothing sours a neighbor-to-neighbor relationship faster than a tree on a property line that is allowed to grow unchecked. I speak from bitter experience.

I think you want the "true dwarf" type of citrus like the Four Winds brand. They are actually more semi-dwarf. True dwarf citrus may grow maddeningly slowly. If I had it to do over again (and I still might...) I would have planted a standard for the owari satsuma. It grows too slowly and even standard trees are typically only about 8 ft. tall. You definitely do NOT want a standard lemon!!!

I would love a Kishu mandarin but fear I just don't have enough heat. They are like tangerine candy. Simply wonderful. I'm sure it would be great, but you might want to investigate the typical ultimate tree size. If it's a small tree by nature, a standard might work. Costco generally has a mad sale on citrus in the Spring and they have a mix of standard, semi- and dwarf.

I think a Bearss lime would be a good addition. I'm hoping to graft one or more of the cordons on my lemon over to lime in the future. I'm one of the those people who believes you can have too many lemons and I don't want that when I could have some limes in the same space. I think the variegated lemons are very pretty but not sure if I would plant that AND another lemon (my "too many lemons" thing). I'm glad my (other) neighbor has planted a kaffir lime within easy reach. I enjoy having access to the leaves (red fish curry tonight!) but I would not want to devote precious space to a tree just for a few leaves now and then. Better to keep a small specimen in a pot (or graft a branch or two onto my lemon?!).

You can see the beginnings of a persimmon espalier in the background of the pomegranate photo. That tree I treated differently because it was a rescue item and didn't have what looked like viable buds at the lowest tier level. So I didn't chop off its head (at least not this year) and will see what happens next season. Persimmons are grown commercially as espaliers in Australia so there is good info available on training them for production.

One more thing: your vision for the planted area sounds good, but keep in mind that citrus resent root competition so you need to keep other plants a reasonable distance away from them.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Steve_in_los_osos: You are SO insightful!... You gave me so much to think about as I'm developing my plan. Your breakdown of the cost couldn't have been more helpful. The idea of using the electrical conduit is genius!... I was trying to figure out how to get around having to pour concrete in order to keep the wooden posts in place. What kind of wood did you use?

You make such great points about the different varieties of citrus. I think I'm am in total agreement with you on the idea of grafting in some limes especially the kaffir lime since I would really only need it for it's leaves. And while the lemonade tree is beautiful with it's variegated leaves and fruit, (I've yet to taste it), and so I'm not sure if it's earned it's place in my space challenged garden.

Yes, I will have very easy access to both sides of the trees where I plan to do the espalier... so pruning shouldn't be too much of a challenge. I will try to post a photo of the space when I get a chance, to give you a better sense of it...

I just watched a really great YouTube video from Dave Wilson Nursery on Backyard Orchard Culture and Understanding the Basics...

Backyard Fruit Tree Basics:
http://www.davewilson.com:8080/community-and-resources/videos/backyard-fruit-tree-basics
In the video Tom Spellman talks about the main points of Backyard Orchard Culture. Topics include managing tree size, successive ripening fruits, dealing with poorly draining soil, the basics of fertilizing, understanding rootstock, mulching and more. Really great information. I'm wondering though if his advice can also pertain to growing citrus???

If you watch the video on small space fruit planting, Tom Spellman talks about growing the trees really close together. Do you think this will negatively impact the citrus trees to the point where they will die? In the diagrams, (link below), the trees are only spaced 18 to 36 inches apart.

There are even diagrams for small space fruit planting:
http://www.davewilson.com:8080/home-gardens/backyard-orchard-culture/high-density-planting

Here is the low-down on my planting site:

My house is located in Orange County in what I would consider a semi-coastal area. Around 3pm everyday, we get good breeze coming off the coast, and we sometimes will get a little bit of the damp marine layer in the morning, but it burns off rather quickly. It can get quite hot here in the summer, with the temperature in the mid 80s to high 90s. The winters here stay quite warm and dry. I am located right on the boarder of what would be considered Zone 10a and 10b.

The front of my house faces SOUTH. If you were standing across the street from my house, and looking directly at the front of my house, the planting site will be located on your right, which is also EAST. The FRONT AREA of the planting site is sandwiched between the drive way leading up to our attached garage, and our neighbor's extra wide driveway. The plan is to plant the espaliered trees so that they will form a bit of a screen between us and our neighbor.

THE FRONT AREA: The first 20 feet of the planting site, (which runs along my driveway), gets ALL DAY SUN in ALL DIRECTIONS. This is also the widest area of the planting site. It is basically a big rectangle that measures about 20 feet long by 6.5 feet wide. This rectangular area has a slight downward slope... I'm guessing about half a foot to one foot drop from the highest point at the top of the driveway, to the lowest point at the bottom of the driveway.

The BACK AREA: This area of the planting site picks up where the large rectangular front area leaves off... It continues to run along the property line towards the backyard gate. This back planting area is long and NARROW... measuring 15 feet long and 15 inches wide. This back area is sandwiched between the exterior garage wall of my house on one side and our neighbors garage wall about 10-15 feet away. I mention this because this area gets some shade throughout the day due to it's location between our garage wall and our neighbors garage wall. So I will have to keep this in mind when choosing a tree to plant in this area. The trees planted in this long narrow area will be flanked by large trash cans. This is the utility side of our house... which is one of the reasons why I want to create a screen in this area... to try and hide those unsightly trash cans. I'm thinking about maybe planting some variety of sprawling, low growing rosemary along here underneath the espaliered trees to ward off some of the smell from the trash cans. Do you think there will be an issue with root competition if I were to do this?

DIVISION BETWEEN FRONT AREA and BACK AREA: I am also thinking about possibly creating an additional espalier screen that would run along the back of the 6.5 feet wide rectangular planting area. It would function to block out the ugly view of the trash cans that are along the right side of my house... which if you were standing across the street from my house, you can get a direct view of. So essentially it would that screen intersect the wider front planting area and more narrow back planting area.

What you mention about my semi-dwarf variety is true. My Eureka and Meyer are both semi-dwarf varieties. The video of Tom Spellman above also goes into discussion about dwarf varieties... and says that it's more important to know your specific root stock variety and how it will adapt to your soil conditions than it is do buy a dwarf variety for it's small size. The reason is because, even most dwarf/ semi-dwarf varieties do no do a sufficient job in preventing a fruit tree from getting larger than you want as a backyard gardener. Maintaining the size has to be done with thoughtful pruning during the early years in the fruit trees life. The information shared on the video is quite enlightening. Let me know your thoughts on it if you happen to check it out.

Have you ever heard of or tried a SPICE ZEE NECTAPLUM??? I just learned about it on the Dave Wilson Nursery website. It sounds FABULOUS!... It supposedly can function as both and ornamental tree and a fruit tree... which is exactly what I'm looking for. Hmmm.... I wonder if it would work well in a espalier???

What variety of pomegranate did you plant? Have you ever considered a GOLD NUGGET MANDARINE? If I remember correctly, I don't think it needs hot weather to get ripen.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Sounds like you have adequate heat for just about anything where you are. I'm very familiar with the DW site and have followed their suggestions for BYOC elsewhere in my front and back yard with 4-trees-in-one hole for a variety of stone and pome fruits as well as avocado (only 3 of those) and subtropicals like white sapote and cherimoya. I've not tried citrus with this method. I suppose it might work with dwarf rootstocks, but I'd be more inclined to multi-graft.

I am familiar with Gold Nugget mandarin. I have a potted specimen that is holding on but not really thriving. My plan is to graft half of the owari satsuma espalier over to Gold Nugget, giving me part early and part late mandarin. Of course, at the rate the satsuma is growing this may never happen!

I've had the "pink" lemons from the local Farmer's Market. They are a delightful surprise when cut open to reveal the pale pink interior. I think they are more or less the same as Eureka lemons in flavor. I've read they are not as prolific. I think of the plant as a novelty variety, something worthy of a place as a potted dooryard specimen if you have the right spot, but not an only lemon.

I've read others comments on the Spice Zee Nectaplum and agree it sounds like a nice tree. I'm not sure about the espalier angle. It depends on its growth habit. Peaches are more typically trained as espalier fans because of their fruiting habit. Plums, on the other hand, do well with the simple horizontal cordons like I have been using. On the third hand, pomegranates (I'm growing Angel Red) are generally not grown as I am doing for reasons similar to the peach. I've decided to try it anyway. My reasoning is that pomegranates have a fruiting habit similar to persimmons (more or less tip bearing on new wood) and persimmons are grown commercially this way in Australia. They must know what they are doing there, even if they do all walk around upside-down :-) So I'm going to follow their "renewal" pruning instructions for persimmons with my pomegranate and see what happens. I'd be happy with only a handful of pomegranates every year. I don't need 50.

The wood for the posts is standard fence post, 4x4x8', pressure treated.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

I've tried to post a few pictures to give you a better idea of the space. Hopefully it worked.

Please excuse the mess... I just moved in... and this is the sad state my front side yard right now... :-(
On the bright side it should make for more dramatic Before and After Photos!... ;-)

As you can see from the pictures there is a short retaining wall between my house and my neighbor's house. How far away from the wall should I plant the trees?

Because of the slope, would I be better off building a raised bed to level out the planting area? How do you deal with your slope and soil erosion?

Do you think the area in the back is too narrow to plant espalier trees? It's only 15 inches wide.

Hmmm... those are REALLY important points you make about pruning pomegranates and persimmons. I am going to need to do some homework on this. Is it the same for pruning citrus?

Also, what do you think about planting a Siver Sheen Bush/Tree to block out the view of the trash cans??? Or do you think there will be root issues?

Because this is a front yard space that will right next to the neighbors, the aesthetic and tidiness aspect is very important. What plants do you think would give me the most bang for my buck here as far as ease of pruning, while creating a beautiful living fence and also providing me and my neighbors with fruit?

I really like your idea of placing the pink lemonade tree in a pot and making it a feature plant.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Here is another angle of the front yard planting area.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Here is a picture of part of the narrow back planting area. Do you think it is too narrow to plant an espalier tree? Are there certain kinds that would better in this smaller space?


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

As you can see from the pictures there is a short retaining wall between my house and my neighbor's house. How far away from the wall should I plant the trees?

If it were me I would probably plant down the middle of the strip. The retaining wall will have a foundation of some sort and the roots will run into that to whatever depth it goes down. Planting in the middle will maximize root exposure on both sides to water and nutrients.

Because of the slope, would I be better off building a raised bed to level out the planting area? How do you deal with your slope and soil erosion?

I think a raised bed might be overkill. I live on essentially dune sand and although it has not really rained hard since I've lived here full time (hope springs eternal....) erosion has not been much of a problem. I keep a thick layer of chip mulch (dumped by the county and private trimmers at a local spot) everywhere and that seems to prevent the formation of raging torrents--so far.

Do you think the area in the back is too narrow to plant espalier trees? It's only 15 inches wide.

Yes. I think 15 inches is too narrow to plant anything but chips or gravel :-) I say that as someone who has learned/is learning the hard way that it does not pay to cram plants into tight spaces. First, you need to be able to get at them and most of us take up more than 15 inches! Second, they just don't flourish in tight spaces. Disease and pests dine on them with relish, however. Let them plant their own supper, I say.

Hmmm... those are REALLY important points you make about pruning pomegranates and persimmons. I am going to need to do some homework on this. Is it the same for pruning citrus?

Some people say that citrus should be trained as informal espaliers because frequent trimming will decrease fruit production. I've seen examples of cordon citrus that produce just fine. There is a balance. Frequent pruning promotes more new growth during flush times and citrus fruit on new growth (but not only at tips, like persimmons or pomegranates). I think it's also a question of what you expect/want. As I said, I don't want to be lugging boxes of excess lemons to church, supermarket parking lots, etc. I just want enough to cook with and enjoy in occasional desserts.

Also, what do you think about planting a Siver Sheen Bush/Tree to block out the view of the trash cans??? Or do you think there will be root issues?

There are always "root issues" of varying severity. The last time I dug out some good-sized pittosporums it didn't seem like they had enormous root systems, but that may just be here by the bay. I would just note that happy pittosporums are going to need trimming so they don't expand to fill the available space and they will eventually get quite tall if not topped. That variety is, even so, lovely.

Because this is a front yard space that will right next to the neighbors, the aesthetic and tidiness aspect is very important. What plants do you think would give me the most bang for my buck here as far as ease of pruning, while creating a beautiful living fence and also providing me and my neighbors with fruit?

Lemons, of course, bloom off and on all year long when happy--especially Meyers. The blossoms smell fabulous (Oro Blanco grapefruit blossoms are incredible) and the fruit in its various stages is also attractive. Other citrus are more seasonal in their growth stages but always green.

The classic espalier subjects (apples and pears) are beautiful in bloom and lovely when covered with fruit but have a stark beauty most won't appreciate when they are dormant. This would be true for just about all deciduous fruit. In some mild climate areas pomegranates do not drop all their leaves in the winter but I'm guessing they would where you live as they used to in Glendale when I lived there.

So for year-round interest, citrus would be a good bet.

You might find the Australian site liked below interesting. They have espaliered just about every fruit known to humans (although I don't recall seeing citrus....). Everything is more or less simple horizontal cordons and clearly they get lots of fruit (and the birds and beasts don't get any!) [links to photos at the bottom of the page]

Here is a link that might be useful: Espaliers Down Under


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Steve

I am just down the road from you an hour plus, SB, and would LOVE to see some photos of what you are doing with your persimmon and pomes.

I put in a row of citrus with the plants on espaliering them, but have not done much with them so far, second summer in the ground and they are just taking off.

FYI, my Gold Nugget looked sad until a couple of months ago and it has really taken off.

But my pink variegated lemon is kind of a bust in the citrus row. I think it is super sun sensitive compared to every other citrus tree we have.

I saw a lady in town here who has a split rail type low fence in the front yard she is using for apples espaliered and it looks wonderful!


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

I am just down the road from you an hour plus, SB, and would LOVE to see some photos of what you are doing with your persimmon and pomes.

Scroll back up the page. This first of my posted photos is the pomegranate espalier and in the background there is a persimmon whip with tiny little branches starting to train.

I got the pomegranate bareroot at Green Thumb in Ventura a couple of years ago during a short trip to Thousand Oaks, grew it out in a container for a year and then transplanted it in the ground, cutting it to a stub. The picture shows its current growth in its first season of training. I think it's filling in nicely and more quickly than I had anticipated. Whether it will get enough heat to bloom and perhaps fruit is another issue and only time will tell.

I got the persimmon potted at HD, a sad, neglected specimen with a curved trunk and very little branching. It didn't look like there were viable buds below the level of the first wire so I have been reluctant to stub it and start the training process like I have with all the other trees. Also, there is very little growth so I thought I'd get it in the ground and let it adjust, then see what happens in the Spring. It does have little branches that will work for the remaining tiers if they actually grow out so I may just abandon the lower tier. There are some iffy looking buds down there and I will notch above them in early Spring, hoping to force some growth, but it may not work.

The persimmon is a Fuyu and I'm pretty sure that will not fruit here (or at least not ripen). My original plan was to grow out a rootstock from seed and then graft over to Saijo and maybe Izu, but my seedlings have grown very slowly and I got impatient, hence the tree from HD. If I can get the cordons started I can graft them to the more suitable varieties and forget about the Fuyu.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Thanks Steve

I did not realize that the first photo showed the persimmon in the background.

Our persimmons are mature trees, but we cut them low because fruit 40 feet in the air is not not a good thing to pick. If I can get a graft of one of the hachiyas on a fuyu, I am tempted to cut the tree at a few feet and rework it. So far it seems like persimmons and white zapote stumps will not die. I have confidence it will return no problem.

Hope your fuyus ripen, we also grow the giant fuyus, more persimmons that I need, but would be interesting to graft all three on the remaining trees.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Bump for an amazing thread!!! would love to see how it has progressed. Hint hint. thank you very much for posting, very inspiring!! members like you are the reason I took the plunge and joined. Best regards


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I'll post some updated photos tomorrow. The pom has set fruit (I've been helping with a tiny brush)! And tomorrow my citrus bud wood arrives so I'll need to get some photos of the filled out trees before I take the plunge and cut off some cordons.


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Here are some updated photos (sorry for the wan light. We are socked in today--a real pea-souper).

Angel Red Pomegranate



The top two tiers still need to fill out and would probably do so faster if I had the discipline to pick off the developing fruit. But I just can't.....

Persimmon

Again, slow to fill out, but it's getting there. I was relieved to see two lower shoots finally appear, although one is still very weak. Definitely a work in progress.

Pawpaw

I was elated to see that my $10 Gurney's pawpaw seedling made it through its first dormant season and actually put on quite a bit of new growth. But it didn't branch at all, even though I tipped it when dormant. So.....Plan B....I'm unwilling to cut back such a slow grower yet again. I think I'll try the KNNN espalier method with this one. We'll see.

Lemon

This is more or less "done" and has begun to bloom on the bottom tier. I plan to remove a few arms today when my budwood arrives and graft on limes and buddha's hand citron.

Mandarin

Still an incredibly slow grower,the bottom tier is almost filled out and has bloomed and set fruit which I really need to remove Yes, OK, I will do it TODAY! I was worried about a leader which just sort of pooped out but it sent out a strong, nearly vertical side shoot recently so I removed the original leader and am training a new one. Hopefully I get to the second tier this year.

Orange:

Top two tiers not quite full yet but I have budwood arriving for some of the lower tiers: Moro blood orange, cocktail grapefruit, oro blanco and melogold grapefruits. No bloom yet, which is kind of odd. I'm still trying to figure out when and how to snip to both reign in growth and encourage bloom.

And finally, a completely irrelevant and totally gratuitous picture of my new container water garden:


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RE: Please review my espalier plan

Steve_in_Los_Osos:
Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures! It's so fun to see how your plants are all progressing. It gives me the inspiration I need to keep along in my planning. Not much progress here yet, but I will share as soon as there is something significant to share.


 o
RE: Please review my espalier plan

  • Posted by babyg U10 S20-23 (MtnTop L (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 3:32

CreatedToCook: How has your planning changed with Steve's input (or others')?

Last weekend I actually planted a seven citrus espalier in my front yard along the property boundary wall, where the ground slopes down to the street - sound familiar? It's a LOT like yours. Mine slopes down steeper than yours. But it may help you to know how I got over a couple of bumps.

Here's what was holding me up... I had been dreaming for about a year of making it a Belgian Fence or Losange shape -- diamonds. Every time I drew it out on paper it didn't work, because I was focusing too much on planting each tree equally distant from it's neighbor, and treating each tree equally in the first cut. I would have had big blank spots and uneven diamonds if I'd done that. Finally I got out some chalk, and I drew the shape using the bricks as my guide: I counted the same rise over the same run over and over and marked each spot with a dot, and then connected the dots. It really helped that I made the ones leaning left pink and the ones leaning right blue (or vice versa.) Immediately I saw where I should plant the trees to fill in all of the lines. They were not all equally planted from one another!

And although I did not build a raised bed, I needed to terrace the earth in the end, because I discovered my soil was pure clay. Each hole I dug was basically just a pot, waiting for excess water and root rot. So I ended up digging a 2 foot wide trench down the hill and mixing in 75% compost, then terracing so that each root ball was slightly above the slope.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Oh... one other thing, I was reading that these are the ideal citrus for espalier and hedge, respectively, but I think you really can try any kind of citrus as long as you are ok with them growing at different rates. (See list below.) It's kinda like how SteveInLosOsos had that lemon that filled out so beautifully and swiftly. The others just take a little longer. Tom Spellman of DWN is very encouraging about trying out most citrus in various shapes. I'd like to know more about which fruit varieties favor which shapes, as Steve was talking about earlier. (Btw Spice Zee Nectaplum is supposedly VERY much like a Nectarine, and you should probably plan to treat it that way.) If peaches prefer fans, and plums prefer horizontal, what do nectarines prefer?

Good Citrus for Espelier:

Meiwa Kumquat
Nagami Kumquat
Eureka Lemon
Meyer Improved Lemon
Chandler Pummelo
DANCY Tangerine
Satsuma Tangerine

Good Citrus for Hedge:

Calmondine - "nearly thornless"
Verigated Calmondine - "nearly thornless"
Meyer Improved Lemon - "nearly thornless"
Pink Lemonade/Veriegated Eureka (green veriegated fruit! and leaves)--has thorns!
Pomona Sweet Lemon - has thorns!
Sweet Lime doesn't do well in SoCal - needs wet.

I may need to plant a thorny hedge to keep people from stealing the fruit from my front yard!


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Espalier tips

Greetings all,

I planted some fruit trees this summer; I'm having a fence installed today and I need to move my fruit trees (2 apples, a nectarine and a peach) so I thought I'd take this opportunity to espalier (is 'espalier' a verb?) them to the fence. I’m interested in fruit production more than appearance, and I don’t mind of the branches overlap. I couldn't find any 'Espalier for Dummies' type of information, so I figured I’d ask the experts.

1. How many feet apart should I space my trees along the fence?
2. How many horizontal levels would you recommend? I’ve seen as many as four in some diagrams.
3. Is there any other advice you would give a first time espalierer?

Thanks for the input.


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