Propagation: Can I espalier a stella cherry tree ?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by suzsteele, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. suzsteele

    suzsteele Member

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    I have a smallish patio in Seattle where I would like to put a espalier fruit tree on a west facing fence. Would love to have a cherry tree. Is this possible? If so, could use any advice you might have!
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm not sure about espaliering the tree, but a Compact Stella would seem to be a good choice. I've had a couple of these for quite a few years, and they are steady, but not prolific producers. They are genetically compact but still get to be sizable trees unless pruned heavily. You can expect to be pruning them all summer.
     
  3. suzsteele

    suzsteele Member

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    I don't have enough space unless I can espalier the tree. Maybe someone else will kow.

    But thanks for your reply. As I understand it the stella is tasty. I have a big sweet tooth. How do you find the taste? Regarding pruning, generally you don't start pruning until you've picked the fruit or do you start earlier?
     
  4. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    suz, Do you ever get up to Mt. Vernon? West of Mt V. on the Memorial Hiway is the WSU Experimental farm and garden. They have all sorts of espaliered fruit trees. If you can come up on a weekday they will be more than happy to show you around and answer questions. Check in at the large building in the first parking lot. The second parking lot leads to the Master Gardener garden. That might be of interest to you also.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  5. suzsteele

    suzsteele Member

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    Thanks so much for your reply! What a good idea. I'm new to Washington State and have never been up that way, but will plan a trip for early spring. While I was working my way through college, I worked for the California Cooperative Extension Plant Pathologist on the Berkeley Campus and made more than one trip to CA Extension Experimental Farms. I'm sure I can get a lot of good information at the WSU Experimental Farm -- not to mention that it will be a nice outing. Thanks again.
     
  6. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to Wash. Glad I could help. WSU is our Land Grant Univ, as UC Davis is in Cal. With your background they will probably give you the "Cooks" tour.
     
  7. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The taste of the Stella cherry is excellent. However, if you want maximum sweetness, then it has to be at the dark red, almost black, fully ripe stage. And this could be a problem. Here in the Vancouver, BC, area a nasty fruit fly, the Spotted Wing Drosophila, arrived about 2 years ago and has drastically affected sweet cherry production. They lay eggs in the cherries just as they are ripening so that, by the time that they are fully ripe, the cherries are riddled with tiny white maggots. The only way that I've been able to combat this problem is by picking the cherries as soon as they are ripe enough to eat, when they have not reached their maximum sugar levels. They still taste good but aren't as sweet as they could be. Since these fruit flies arrived here from the south, they are likely to be a problem in Washington.

    Re pruning, I cut off any small branches that don't have flowers on them as soon as I can see that they are barren. This leaves more light for the fruit-bearing branches and certainly doesn't hurt the tree.
     
  8. suzsteele

    suzsteele Member

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    That's too bad about the fruit fly. I have an espaliered apple tree and have to put nylons (basically) on the fruit because of some apple worm -- would be too hard to put tiny nylons on all the cherries! I'm sure cherry producers are using some nasty pesticide. Have you heard of or tried anything organic to combat the fruit fly?

    Thanks for the advice about pruning. The last couple of years have been my first foray into patio food production -- it was always flowers before. I have lots of pots and a 4'x4' raised bed. So your advice is greatly appreciated. Any advice about pruning an apple tree? It's a young tree and I haven't had to do much pruning yet, but it settled in this year and put out a lot of branches. Should I prune now or give it another year and prune next fall?

    Sorry to be so needy about advice, but if you have the time ...
     
  9. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    There's a lot of information on the Web about the SWD. Just Google the name or the acronym, and you will find recommendations for sprays, some of which are considered organic. I don't like to spray anything on fruit that is close to ripening; so I'm trying to cope without spraying. Something that might work for low growing espaliered trees is to cover them completely with a floating row cover. I think that the weave is tight enough to exclude the SWD, which is relatively large.

    With the apple tree, like any fruit tree, you should decide what form you want the tree to take and then prune out any growth that doesn't conform. The sooner undesirable branches are removed, the better; and it can be done at any time of the year.
     

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