My second leaf espalier trees have grown above the top wire of my training and support wires, 7+’. Should I bend and tie the leaders down to the top wire before heavy growth or wait til mid summer to prune?
Cornell reccomends heading the leader once it has surpassed the top wire and is bearing fruit at the heighest desired height. Thin and/or remove fruit on the top of the leader to prevent it from breaking the leader.
I want the top wire to carry 2 branches on a T shape, but the trees aren’t well branched yet or carrying any fruit yet. I notched them before they bud swelled, 2 weeks ago, to get the limbs I wanted but haven’t seen results yet. They are in very fertile soil and well watered. It sounds as if I should allow the leader to grow til I get desired growth then prune it back?
Head the leader about 2-3 inches BELOW the level of the highest wire. That will cause the buds right below the cut to start growing. Once two of them get to be 18 to even 24 inches long or in the fall you can tie them down to the top wire.
Do not just let the leader grow as this will slow branching out.