Espalier is the practice of controlling woody plant growth by pruning, to grow in relatively flat planes, such as along fences, a tre//is or wall.
I've been growing apples and apricots this way for the last 15 years, am now looking to plant a greater variety of trees, and to improve the water retention of the soil. My trees are 5 feet in height, produce well with a variable average of 14 inches of rain in the winters, and with no additional water. Feel free to share your experience and interest with espaliers.
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posted 8 years ago
wow that photo is beautiful. what's the name of that espalier pattern? do you have more pictures? please? pretty please?
i started an espalier pear tree last winter but im afraid it's not going to get enough sun. i think im going to 'fix' it by just letting it continue to grow till it reaches the top of the wall. then i'll re-prune it into a T and have the branches go along the top of the wall so it gets enough sun.
i plan on creating a belgian fence out of 8 apple trees this winter. im pretty excited. im going to plant 4 varieties, 2 of each. i believe i have them staggered well enough for pollination... maybe you can tell me if im right? gala, braeburn, granny smith, pink lady. in texas zone 8b (austin inside city limits).
how about the apricot? i dont think they grow well in texas but peaches do and i assume they take the same sort of pruning. what ive read also seems to say that peaches and apricots are difficult to espalier.
Location: western u.s.
posted 8 years ago
Your 8 apple trees sound great. You can make any pattern that you like. I would just match the varieties to your climate, and think you will not have any problem with pollination.
My trees are on the north side of the house, so they are in the shade all winter. I might have put them a little close together (4 feet) but they're fine. It is a moderate climate here and the winters are not very cold, so I planted anna, ein shemer, fiji, macintosh, golden delicious, and blenheim apricots.
I believe most apricots grow on last year's wood, so it is important to keep some of last year's wood when they're pruned. There are many different ways to do this. Apricots are one of the most drought resistant fruit trees. I had a nectarine tree with delicious fruit but got over zealous with it at the start and it died. I am going to plant more of them.