Encouraging growth on lower tiers of espalier

I’ve got this 3 tiered pear espalier tree up against the side of my house. Growing well for the past few years after suffering a couple of deer attacks early on. The lower tiers are clearly a bit stunted compared to the upper ones, which is to be expected anyway I guess. But I think the deer are partly to blame as well.

I have a different variety on each arm, so I want to make sure the lower tiers don’t get overtaken by the upper tiers and die off over time. Especially the one on the bottom right is pretty dinky. Beyond summer pruning the upper tiers is there anything I can do? Has anyone tried notching the trunk just above the weaker branches? I know this works well to get a dormant bud to grow into a branch, but not sure how much effect it would have on an already established but weaker branch. I may try it anyway.

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I am just starting a few of my own espalier and hope to do as you have by adding different varieties at each cordon.

Unfortunately, I think the answer to your question is to grow out the lowest tier first then allow the upper ones to follow. I think it needs to be done while developing the tree. This is what I’ve read, not done myself.

I’m not sure there is a solution to your tree as the top cordon is so much bigger than the lower two.

I wonder if you could renew the upper cordon with new growth near the trunk (like is done on cane pruned grape vines) and remove the larger older wood altogether from the top level. That way the lower two cordons can grow while the top one starts over.

Just an idea.

I would say that if it is truly important to you to grow out the first tier, you need to cut off the upper growth and regress, until the tier is develloped and then move forward tier by tier.

You might get some increased growth from that dinky branch if you untie it and stake it up a bit more vertical. I’m trying that with my weaker espalier branches currently.

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