Tip bearing Apples Espalier

I accidentally grafted some tip bearing varieties in onto G41 stock which I was going to Espalier. Should I give up on this plan or are some types of Espalier more problematic than others? I was considering doing a Belgian fence and also some horizontal T forms.


There’s good information about this on some other threads (should come up if you search), but to summarize and possibly oversimplify, it depends on how tip-bearing the varieties in question are and how formal you need/want your espalier to be.

On the varieties side, my understanding is that many varieties are somewhat tip-bearing (“somewhat” being kind of a spectrum…) but only a few are pretty much completely tip-bearing. So, the fact that something is listed as a partial tip-bearer doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsuitable for espalier.

On the training side, varieties that tilt toward tip bearing probably aren’t the best choice for classic espalier training (like the Lorette method), but if you interpret espalier more broadly, there are ways of making it work even with primarily tip bearing trees (like fan training).

Here’s one example of espalier in the broad sense that could work with tip bearing trees:


As you can see, rather than being pruned back to stubs, the secondary branches are bent down and woven into the “fence.” While it seems like this might compromise some of the benefits of espalier (like improved air flow), it looks like it might be fun to try.


I think you should make a dutch fence instead

Ce style de taille d’espalier me fait mal au cerveau.


I have four apple espalier trees, and two have turned out to be partial or fully tip bearing, but it’s taken a few years to see each individual tree’s growth habit. The summer banana apple, for example, only blooms on the tips of very long (2 ft.) branches. This is the first year I’ve let it fruit, so I don’t know how those branches will develop. It doesn’t look like espalier anymore, except for the main branches are horizontal, with spindly long branches with fruitlets at the very end.
The stayman winesap fruited on spurs, tips, and the middle of branches, so I could probably get away with more espalier pruning and still have some fruit.
Which tip bearing varieties did you graft?

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The main one is golden russet but actually, most of them are not tip-bearing. I’ll just not use that one for espalier and try something else with it.

Golden Russet has a crazy growth habit if left to its own devices. But worth it.