Espalier trained plants (pictures of) being trained for our Retail Plant Sale at the flowering shrub farm in Voorheesville, NY. We train fruit trees for sale to step over or horizontal T call me at 518-526-9978 or 526-9101. The espalier is a restrictive form of fruit tree training (though it has been applied to many other types of plants) where trees or vines are tied and pruned so that the plant has a central stem that supports a number of paired branches that are trained in a single plane by tieing onto a trellis. Most people are more familiar to espalier as it is used in a vinyard to train grape vines. If the pictures below dont open click espalier. 17:06
At the bottom of this page are individually numbered plants for sale being trained in the field. Above are plants in a customers garden.
HOW WE TRAIN ESPALIER
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Fruit trees being trained to espalier are first cut off fifteen inches above the graft (or in this case above the rim of the pot which is level with the graft, the graft should be 3 inches above the ground so this = 18 inches above the ground) usually sometime in early spring while they are still dormant (pruning at this time breaks dormancy) but late enough so that frost wont damage new growth. If training your own espalier you would do this by cutting it back to just above the lowest wire that is 18 inches above the ground.
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By the second week of June they have produced multiple branches from which I will chose the best to train and remove the rest. Pruning back this far often forces suckers from the base that have to be torn off before they become too big. What we want is a wound that will heal, not a pruning scar that may promote the sucker to grow again. Once the tree is a little older and larger the tendency to sucker will be reduced. You should attach your tree to a trellis (explained bellow) and attach your chosen branches to bamboo sticks (purchased at your local garden center), then train them to a V shape and a verticle stem trained in the center of the V (the V trained arms are lowered to the wire in fall but will grow more vigorously until then if V trained).
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We Tie trees to a wire trellis. Potential Espalier customers are told to place posts every six feet with the wires attached to the side of the post (that way you can raise or lower the wire easily and a slightly long arm can bypass the post). Usually wires are attached at 18 inches above the ground and 15 inches above that but when attached to the side of the post its easy enough to change. Click the picture for a larger image and you will see that Rich in orange has a bundle of bamboo sticks.
Count the trees around the sign in each picture to see how many we have left as of the date in the lower right hand corner of the picture. Customers always take the best trained trees first so by October and November we are often left with some pretty rough looking trees. But soon they will be cleaned up, retrained and be another year older, as they set fruit they will either sell or be added to my orchard in 45 gallon pots.
Click the picture for a larger image that you can study more closely.
Check these pictures in other newsletters during the growing season for more information. As I detach them from the trellis and move them into the groups you may see that I actually have more than these first pictures indicate.
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3. Training to a V shape.
4. Training verticle stem to next wire.
5. Lowering V trained branches to lower wire.
6. In spring of second year train to V shape on second wire.
7. In fall of second year lower branches of V to second wire.
All year as I do inventory or train trees I take pictures that are added to my PICTURE-NEWSLETTER for that month. When those pictures are of espalier I add them here as well. January February March April May 1 to 15 May 16 to 31 June 1 to 7 June 8 to 14 June 15 to 21 June 22 to 30 July August September October November December
A standard tree, may overshadow four hundred square feet of orchard. When replaced with 25 horizontal T espalier trained trees, six feet apart on 6 paralel trellises that are twenty five feet long and six feet apart (that uses the same square feet of space), each trees fruit is thinned to twenty fruit and you have five hundred fruit each larger than those on the standard because they have twenty five seperate root systems. The leaves and stems of espalier trained trees and vines are easier to examine for damaging insects and preventative sprays are easier to apply. Traps for insects can be hung from the trellis and how bad the infestation is can be determined by counting how many insects were caught. Much of the time a standard apple tree needs is in the development of the stem needed to support all those fruit. An espalier because its on a trellis has an immediate support in the posts and wires. The added advantage of being able to train many different fruit together (apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, blackberries, raspberries etc.) in a small area no doubt has added to espaliers popularity. By running trellises from North to South the trees receive the maximum light possible during summer when the sun travels from east to west. In winter, when the sun is in the south each tree over shadows the one to its immediate north providing maximum protection from sunscald. In more southerly climates like the one that prevails in the mediteranean, trees can be trained onto a south facing wall or hillside where added sunlight later in the year will extend the growing season but in a climate where temperatures drop below freezing, warming the stem on a sunny wall during the day so the sap starts to run, then having temperatures drop again to below freezing at night, can cause sun scald damaging the stem and reducing its ability to produce fruit.
We pot trees in 7 gallon pots for $30 each and cut off 15 inches above the graft to train as step over and horizontal T espalier (variety name and year first potted are painted on the side of each pot). Flowering Crab apple trees are trained as V shape so they can be added to a belgian fence. Click the picture for a larger image you can save as wallpaper or study more closely.
In the second year we cut trees back to the second wire (15 inches above the first wire), doing exactly as we did for the first wire, tieing two stems in a V shape to promote growth, training spurs on the first wire to fruit, lowering branches on the second wire and tieing them in autumn so that furure energy will go into fruit production. Espalier in 7 gallon pots are trained on wires alongside Lilacs under drip line in the field. In winter many are moved to a different location where its easy to mulch around the pots. In the third year we transplant into a larger pot and bury it in a 45 gallon surrounded by compost (a wire trellis can actually be attached to the 45 gallon pot making the whole thing much more portable). The smallest pot is a 7 gallon for $30, next is a 15 gallon for $50 and 25 gallon for $70.