Growing and pruning fruit trees in espalier
Fruit trees planted in a garden contribute to its design, but require a large space to grow, and must be trained in espalier. Pruning fruit trees may seem difficult to beginners, but good results are obtained by applying some pruning techniques. Training fruit trees in espalier is a technique well-known to gardeners, and can be mastered with practice.
The term espalier refers to the wall against which fruit trees are grown as well as the techniques used for training these fruit trees. In addition, the term espalier refers to a particular pruning technique. Topiary art involves pruning plants to give them original shapes, while espaliering is done by pruning fruit trees to grow in a small space. This technique is aesthetic and useful, and can improve the fruit trees’ productivity by giving them a very elaborate appearance. Pruning in espalier allows the tree to fight off disease more effectively, outbreaks being easily visible and accessible. Fruit trees can be planted in espalier on both sides of a party wall. From a legal standpoint, consult your local authorities regarding required or imposed distances for planting. However, in the case of a non-adjoining wall, only the wall’s owner will have the right to plant fruit trees in espalier against it.
Growing espalier fruit trees
To lay out the trees in espalier, one must first train young seedlings. It is possible to train trees horizontally and vertically. Plants can be pruned in palmette, U single or double, or palmette verrier, the most commonly used shapes by most gardeners. It is necessary to plant the shrubs at regular intervals, between 3 to 6.5 feet, and at least a foot away from the bearing wall. During planting, the seedling should be joined to a robust rootstock that will support the shrub once it reaches adult size.
The soil should be enriched in fertilizer at least once a year for the shrub’s roots to be well-grounded. Stake the main trunk, as it needs to be straight without forming any nodes. Building a trellis on the wall may be required for the shrub’s branches to climb. The nature of additional installations to the espalier varies depending on the species of trees planted. Among the most commonly trained fruit trees are cherry, apple and plum trees, as well as vines which are particularly adapted to the trellis.
Training fruit trees in espalier, a periodical job
The palmette verrier pruning occurs when the shrub is a year old. It is essential to prune all the branches and cut the main trunk at a height of 14 inches. This trunk must include two opposing buds that will regrow limbs forming the tree’s layers. A year after that procedure, the two lateral branches are cut to equal length while the central trunk should be cut to 14 inches above the created node. The gardener must proceed in that manner until the desired height is reached. To train fruit trees, carry out the same procedure every year. The pruning technique can be customized, the rule being to eliminate useless branches and training the trunk and stems to give them the desired shapes.
- Pruning espalier fruit trees: techniques and advantages
- Planting fruit trees
- Pruning fruit trees
- Treating fruit trees
- Fruit Trees & Orchard
Published in Pruning by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011