Espalier an established apple tree??

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by ponderoni, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. ponderoni

    ponderoni Active Member

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    Location:
    New Westminster, Canada
    We have an apple tree on the western side of our house (New Westminster, zone 8) that we would like to espalier.
    It has a good number of horizontal branches, and will require some other semi-major pruning. I figure that I'll have to use a short ladder to prune and harvest, but what the heck?
    Is this a fool-hardy mission? I'm researching the technical how-to to come up with a plan.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Burnaby, Canada
    The tree doesn't look too large to attempt espaliering it. However, the rootstock may not be the right type for an espalier; it normally needs a dwarfing rootstock. If the tree does not have a dwarfing rootstock, it will put most of its energy into new growth when it is pruned heavily; and you will get little or no fruit production. However, even in that case, there is one technique that may work. I've had some success with girdling an old, large apple tree that I was pruning back heavily. The girdling reduces the growth of the tree and promotes flowering and fruit production. There is plenty of information on the Web about how to do it, if you are interested.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Does this look to be a grafted, named variety - that you've been getting good fruit off of so far? If instead it appears to be a spontaneous seedling it may not be worth bothering to prune and train it in a special way. Also if you fan it out against the house is it going to be in the way of maintaining the house wall later?
     
  4. ponderoni

    ponderoni Active Member

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    Location:
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    Thank you both for your input.
    I will run it by the powers-that-be.

    I believe that it is a named variety, possibly a dwarfy rootstock, but we do get delicious fruit from it, although it seems that it produces best every second year.
     

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