Espalier Questions

The first apple espaliers I planted were on M26 at 12 to 14 foot spacing on a 6’, 3 wire trellis. M26 is really a little to high of vigor, but is manageable if you allow enough space. I now only plant on Bud 9 or G41 on 9 or 10 foot spacing. G41 is brittle at the graft union, but never suckers. I did have a few espaliers on M111 but removed most of them because there were very difficult to manage. Spur bears are preferred, but tip bears can be grown as espalier if you allow more bearing branch growth. With tip bearers, I prune off vertical twigs and allow the horizonal growth (Perpendicular to the wire) to grow about a foot.

I think this is Arkansas Black (Spur type) on m26

This is bramley on m26.


With the tip bearers after they grow to the 12 inches do you pinch or cut to keep them at that length? Then after they fruit, do you eliminate those shoots?

I prefer not to use tip-bearing apples for espalier because they look less attractive. If you still wish to use them, I would recommend applying Lorette pruning:
Prune everything longer than 25 cm back to a crown cut (0.5 cm) throughout the year.

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A few years back… bought this Novamac on B9…

The box it was shipped in had been damaged… and yes inside the little tree was a nice 5ft long whip that had been broken at around 3 ft.

I pruned it to a bud just below the break… planted it in a half whisky barrel type planter and let it grow that first season.

It put out a whirl of 5 limbs that all grew around 3 ft or little more that first season.

I knew nothing about the official way to start an espellar… so followed no rules… I just bent 4 of those limbs and tied them down to a structure I made out of raspberry stakes. The 5th one I let go straight up for central leaader… but kept it pruned short.

This is year 3 for it… and it had fruit buds literally every inch across the 4 scaffold branches… i pruned fruit spurs off to get those spaced out more reasonably… 1 every 3 inches.

Novamac is supposed to be very resistent to FB… but my little tree on B9 got a load of it like all my other blooming trees did this year.

It has been hacked up a little removing blighted fruit spurs and some other growth… i took off something like 25 fruit spurs that were black/brown.

It still has a dozen apples on it that are sizing up and looking good.

Not sure it will survive this or not… hope it does.

It has been fun to work with… even though I did not follow any rules with it.


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To give you another example of what a cutback to first tier looks like halfway the new growing season for a Doyenné du Comice pear.
Feb 2024:

June 2024:

Now your on your way. Be sure to keep the center to 4 inches.