Espalier Apple Trees Re-worked


The apples I got in 2013 were excellent. It’s worth the wait. The tree is loaded this year.

I hope you will get your HC to flower and fruit in the near future.


This is today picture updates. I think I’ll leave them alone from this point on for the growth to harden off before winter set in. MES111 and Alan, do I make the call correctly? Please advise. Thanks.

Hudson’s GG on left, Red Fuji on right


I don’t prune espaliers after Aug, but this year things keep growing-usually the terminal buds are set by now on apples. I really don’t know how much pruning them now would affect their hardening off but I certainly agree with you in theory. Pinching the growing tips probably wouldn’t hurt, though. There’s already plenty of leaf for the energy they need and tip pinching would probably send the energy backwards where you want it now.

The espaliers I manage don’t get quite the attention as yours do. You will shortly be more expert at this than I am, I’m sure. You look at yours and study them more closely than I do with the ones I manage. I do have some informal pear espaliers on my own property (my pear fence on my veg gardens south side). They look a bit calmer than your trees. That could be the psyla making its come back though. I’ll deal with that next spring- I’m done spraying.



They look great.

It is the end of August and I would leave them alone and just enjoy them and observe how they behave and go through their changes.

This year you have learned how they behave and react in spring and summer to active pruning. Now is the time to get to know them as they prepare to go to sleep. Look at them close up and look for the differentiations in the buds.

Hopefully next season you will have the job of how to protect fruit.




I’m looking toward the next job level of how to protect the fruits! :smile:
Thank you for helping us novices navigate in the fruit world!




Thank you very much for your advices. I’m starting to look up your earlier posts regarding pesticide sprays to prepare for next year actions!

It seems my Asian pears are doing good with absolutely no spray. Is this just pure luck? There were some PC damages at the on set but I removed those fruitlets early. The fruits on my pluot are 100% damaged and dropped off prematurely except one (with some damage)! Now that I need to learn the spraying regiment to keep next year’s fruits of my labor, the pluots, plums, peaches and the apples!

Again, thank you for sharing such knowledges and experiences!



West coast varieties of plums and pluots tend to be susceptible to bacterial leaf spot. I’m not sure if that would knock fruit off the tree though. Here it only creates a black scab affect on the skin. Here’s something you can copy.

     Alan Haigh- The Home Orchard and Nursery Co. 


Low Spray Schedule for Home Orchards in the Northeast

Here’s my spray schedule for the scores of orchards I manage around SE NY adapted for home owners managing a few fruit trees. It has functioned well for me for over 2 decades, although J. Beetles and brown rot of stone fruit increases the number of sprays and necessary pesticides some years some sites. Stink bugs are also an increasing problem, mostly with pears, peaches and nectarines, requiring more subsequent sprays when they appear, . Time of spray is based on apple bloom as that is the predominant fruit here but I generally get away with spraying all trees at the time I spray apples.

Please note that pesticide labels must be read before their use and my recommendations do not override the rules on the label. The label is the law. This document only communicates what has worked for me and your results may vary depending on local pest pressure, which may require a different spray schedule.

Spray needs to be applied thoroughly throughout the trees and with a back pack or any human powered sprayer this is more easily accomplished in the morning before breezes usually pick up.

Dormant oil (this is optional if there were no mites or scale issues the previous season, which is usually the case in home orchards). Do oil spray from when emerging green shoots are 1/2" to just before the flower clusters begin to show a lot of pink. Mix Immunox (myclobutinol) at highest legal rate (listed on label for controlling scab and cedar apple rust on apple trees) with 1 to 2% oil( 1 to 2 quarts per 25 gallons of water). If it’s closer to pink use 1%. Never spray oil on open or almost open flowers.

Don’t spray again until petal fall when petals have mostly gone from latest flowering varieties and bees have lost interest. Then spray Triazide (Spectracide Once and Done) + Immunox mixed together at highest legal rates. Repeat once in 10 to 14 days.

Where I manage orchards, the space between earliest flowering Japanese plums and latest flowering apples is only 2 weeks or so, which usually allows me to wait until the latest flowering trees are ready to begin spraying anything. Plum curculio seems to time its appearance conveniently to the rhythm of the last flowering apple varieties. This may not be true where you are.

If plums or peaches need oil they may need application before apples. I’ve only had mites on European plums here and never need oil for other stone fruit.

All this is based on plum curculio being your primary insect problem which is the case most areas east of the Mis. River. These sprays will also absolutely control scab, CAR and Mildew as well as most of the crop fatal insects. Apple fly maggot is an exception as it tends to emerge a couple of weeks after last spray looses effectiveness, but I haven’t had much of a problem with this pest in the orchards I manage. This pest can be controlled with a lot of fake apples smeared with tangle trap.

Coddling moth also may strike later but for most fruit the damage will likely be tolerable. Some small orchardists use mating disruption to get adequate control although common guidelines suggest it is only affective for large areas. I accept the damage because they tend to focus on just a few varieties, such as russet apples and Asian pears.

If you don’t want to use synthetic chemicals try 4 applications of Surround about a week apart starting at petal fall. You may need to start on earlier flowering varieties as soon as they drop petals because Surround is a repellent and can’t kill eggs after they’ve been inserted into the fruit. When temperatures permit it is good to mix horticultural oil with 2 or those applications as Surround makes a nice home for mites and scale.

Stone fruit may require the addition of an application or 2 of Indar (Monterey Fungus Fighter is closest available chemical for home growers) starting 4 weeks before first peaches ripen. Apricots must be sprayed sooner if they are scab susceptible with same compound. On some sites that single spray will also prevent serious rot on later ripening varieties on seasons not particularly wet. If it is wet spray the later varieties again two weeks later.

Because I manage so many orchards so far apart I have to resort to a spray schedule that is based on expectations rather than actual monitoring. You may be able to reduce insecticide sprays with monitoring but PC can enter an orchard overnight and if your insecticide lacks kick-back (as is the case with Triazide), do a lot of damage in a couple of days.

Other problems may occur later in the season and you will in time learn to monitor and react to the pitfalls.

Good luck, Alan Haigh- The Home Orchard and Nursery Co.


Alan, thanks for sharing the spray timing and methods. I will start to looking for fall spray pesticide / fungicide soon.


I printed out this page for future reference. Thanks Alan.




Do these two oil interchangeable? Or must be specific?

And in quote# 2, you meant to mix Surround and Horticulture Oil together for a more effective treatment? At what ratio?

Many things to learn!



Tom, the reason I recommend oil with Surround is because Surround is said to create the perfect environment for mites. But now that you bring the question to my attention I wonder how accurate that is. I don’t manage enough orchards organically to have a wide range of anecdotal evidence on that.

With the pyrethroids, such as Triazicide, I’m almost certain that mite flair ups are encouraged and even possibly whitefly outbreaks, so maybe I should start mixing oil with that when the weather is cool enough (below 90F).

In summer I never mix much more than 1% oil to water.


Just a new updates of the apple espaliers that I worked on this year. I have a jungle on-wire! They better give me some apples next year! :apple:

Credits are to be given to many experts on this board, sharing their hard-earned experiences regarding this subject. Many thanks to Mike, Alan and Applenut.



Tom, those look better every time I see them. You’ve done such a good job. Goes to show what a difference having great mentors makes.


Thanks MuddyMess. I couldn’t agree more! :grinning:
Without this board’s great mentors, I would still be spinning cluelessly for many more years!




I would trim/pinch/prune all of the upright pencils down to 3-5 leaves now unless you want to save some for grafting wood in which case remove any excess that you won’t be needing.

I’ve done it to my trees over the last two weeks, and I am in zone 5b.




I thought allowing the tree to winterize at this end of season moment? Wouldn’t pruning causes new growths that won’t be able to harden off before the winter on set?



I have seen no real re growth on mine. By now there is minimal if any growth going on. And anything that does grow and does not harden off will be pruned by mother nature herself.

Remember that dormant pruning encourages vegetative growth you don’t need that anymore on your wire jungle.:grinning:



I’ll do that this afternoon when I get home. Thanks.

PS: I love my wire jungle! :grinning:


Hope you got over the trauma of the first cut . Look at you first post( s). I could feel your fear and trepidation though the screen.

The 100th message on this thread is yours.




You’ve made my day!!! :smile: