Espalier will not produce side branches

I have pruned the apical branch to induce growth of two side branches. But, some of my trees only put out one branch, not two, and others but out no side branches but did put out another apical branch. What am I doing wrong? (I did make sure there were two buds facing in opposite directions just below the cut.)

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Sometimes buds will sit dormant for a while before growing. How long ago did you make the cut?

I have the exact same issue. I thought it could be the variety (Liberty apple), but I am waiting as this is the first year since planting and it might be still establishing itself. I will try again next year, and if its not working, top work the main branch with Fuji and try again. I haven’t seen any Liberty espaliers but I have definitely seen Fuji ones.

When a bud is dormant it sometimes helps to cut a notch into the bark just above the bud. Make the notch three times as long as the bud area is wide, and about 1/4 inch wide. Remove the strip right down to the wood. This worked nicely for me this year on a plum, and I often do it over a graft, especially one lower in the tree, or one which is being sluggish. Seems to help, even with stuck buds.



How long ago did you head the branch. By now, in zone 6, I don’t think thre will be new vegataive growth being pushed.

Might not be a bad idea to try some bud or T- grafts so it gets going in the spring


I headed it about a month ago.
I tried making a slit above buds but did not cut a notch. Is it too late to cut a notch?

Yes, wait until next year to push new growth. New growth this year wont have time to harden off before cold temps set in.


First let the roots establish. Then prune the tree in April or May. If u prune later there can be less side branches.

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Heading cuts to promote branching is best done in spring when the tree is ready to push new growth. That dormant bud might wake up in spring. Do the notching in spring. You do not want to force a bud that late in the growing season for the growth, if happening at all, will probably stay weak and not harden in time before dormant season.


Does it matter if I prune in winter or in spring?