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Non-Espalier Dwarfs Near Walls?

 
Sam Sparrow
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Hello all.

This spring I am planning on developing a long narrow corridor along the north side of my home. Because I live in the high south western desert (6500' elevation) this really is an ideal space for me to plant fruit trees as it will help prevent early blooms becoming susceptible to the many late frosts we receive.

My issue is the space - it is narrow and I would need to plant the trees close to one wall so they could grow and overhang the open space. I honestly do not know how good this would be for the trees though and so here I am asking. What do you all think? Could I plant my 2 or 3 trees within 2 feet fo a wall and prune them to grow up along the wall and out over the open space with out doing them harm? I really would prefer to not use espalier.

Any feed back would be great, thanks.
 
David Livingston
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Have you thought about growing a fan instead against the wall?
How about figs?

David
 
David Livingston
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http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?PID=106
Figs dont mind having not much root space nor do they mind being trained against a wall.
Eat fresh or dried they are great

David
 
Sam Sparrow
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David, thanks for your replies.

First off I am not 100% sure I follow you when you talk about growing 'fans'? Is this essentially espalier? I am curious to know what your thinking.

Also, I am in a 6a/6b US hardiness zone. I do not think figs do well planted in the outdoors here due to the potential for some seriously cold weather (-21 - 2 years back).
 
David Livingston
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Its all about roots and space to me. What size plant do you want to grow. Decide that then buy a tree that Will grow to that size otherwise you will be forever fighting the trees natural desires.
As for figs I dont fully understand your zone system but know that people in thé UK midlands have grown them ok just have to grow them in a suitable place
Just an idea as figs are hardier than folks think

David
 
Leila Rich
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Welcome to permies Sam.
I'm into espalier, so I'm interested (read: nosy ) about your desire to avoid it.
My first thought is that you have more space than espalier needs, and want to maximise 'tree'?
I can also think of oodles of reasons for people to be not keen on espalier, like the unnatural, controlling, technically demanding pruning, the hardware required, and so on.

The times I've seen fruit trees close to a wall, it's been because the were planted too close, and much brutal hacking ensued, forever
When I've had to prune between a tree and a wall it's been pretty annoying, but the trees have always been neglected and overgrown, not pruned specifically for that space.

What species are you interested in?
Are you talking actual dwarfing rootstocks/genetic dwarfs that make very small trees?
If so, you may be able to plant them further out from the wall, as the canopy can be pretty small. I ask as over here, 'semi-dwarf' generally still makes quite a large tree.
There's 'columnular' apples that grow straight up, with little branching.

I'll be reading what others have to say!
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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that is going to be a cold trap alright.

I would plant em to the outside edge of the space, and just wrap the trunks with plumbers pipe foam wrap , or even newspaper. that is enough for the tree to take the temp from the soil and roots, and not start to early from trunk temps.

You are going to be fighting the branching forever, unless you read up more on pruning. Espaliers and fans are against walls, but there are other techniques for making roofs, walls and fences that can work towards what you want to do.

Citrus is prob never going to work in that site tho. Need lots of air, lots of root warmth, no rubbing of branches, etc.
 
Rebecca Norman
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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I don't know, I don't think it sounds bad. We've got some fruit trees next to walls (a lot of terracing around here) and it's not a problem. Yeah, I taught myself to prune by looking at a few pages in a few books back in the days before I had internet, and I really enjoy it. It gives me something to do in the winter, where I can spend the day out in the sun communing with and admiring and fantasizing about our trees. After shaping in the first few years (eg cutting off branches that touch the wall), I find I hardly have to prune those trees at all once they're a bit bigger.
 
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