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  • Pear cordons against a fence

    Hi
    I have 6 cordons on their way and am prepping the area ahead of the delivery of 6 pear cordons and looking for some advice.
    I"m putting the 6 cordons along this fence. I"ve been told I need to put up wire to train them along.
    The fence has 4" square posts (red) and two pieces of 4x2 attached horizontally (yellow) onto which the feather board has been nailed.

    I think i need to put wire horizontally every 18", but to do that i would need to attach a 4x2 or similar vertically in front of the featherboard and attach the eyes and wire to that. I wonder though if this would be strong enough to hold the wire tension, or look very good.

    What would be the best way to do this? Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I don't think there is any one right answer to your question. Unlike a grape vine say, a pear tree will support almost all its own weight including fruit, so the wires are to hold the new growth in the place where you want it, not structural. If you imagine 20 years in the future, the trees you end up with then will not need the wires at all, though the fence will still be useful for extra reflected warmth.

    That said you don't want to be faffing about because a windy day has rocked a branch and caused the wires to pull out, and there is also the look of the thing. If the wires sag a lot it will look messy, even thought the pear trees won't mind, you might.

    The weak spot mechanically speaking is the metal hook/eye and how that attaches to the fence. Strongest would be a bolt right through a post but that would involve drilling and probably mean unnecessary work. A good compromise would be metal vine eyes which you screwed 3 cm into the uprights, a poor and likely to fail solution would be some old 6" inch nails banged in and bent over, which would hold for a bit but probably get loose in time and definitely go rusty.

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    • #3
      Hi Nick, the issue is that the uprights (red) are behind the horizontals (yellow), so at least 50mm behind the featherboard.

      I could remove the featherboard, cut 4x2 to the required length (distance between the yellow lines) and fix vertically to the vertical posts and then reattach the featherboard. That way the eyes could go straight through the featherboard into the newly attached 4x2.

      One other question, will the cordons not need any support even if they are at 45°? Something like this Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        I wouldn"t plant them on an angle,they get quite heavy,it could pull them right down. As long as the trunk is supported,a cordon pear grows pears very close to the trunk,if it was an espalier it would need wires,a cordon won"t need wires,the branches will be very short.

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        • #5
          Hi Rap,
          Hard to say exactly what would be easiest. Perhaps some new bits of pressure treated battens set vertically, with some 10 cm long screws screwed right through everything into the uprights behind, to give you something on the facing side to screw into ? If it meets my minimum strength test I tend to go with what's cheapest and then what needs the least work. In other words I am not a professional carpenter, but rather a good bodger. Having said that some of my home-made sheds are still standing after almost 40 years, mostly made out of scrap materials - not pretty but cheap and strong.

          Happy gardening, Nick

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rapscallion View Post
            One other question, will the cordons not need any support even if they are at 45°?
            They will need a stout cane each, attached to the wires.
            Read this, they have good information:
            https://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/gard...on-fruit-trees

            Originally posted by Jungle Jane View Post
            I wouldn"t plant them on an angle,they get quite heavy,it could pull them right down. As long as the trunk is supported,a cordon pear grows pears very close to the trunk,if it was an espalier it would need wires,a cordon won"t need wires,the branches will be very short.
            A diagonal cordon is a legitimate growing technique. The diagonal setting encourages more fruiting.
            You grow them up a stout cane which is itself attached to the straining wires in the fence.

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            • #7
              I"ve heard of them before for apples but I don"t like them unless the support is strong ever lasting,if it"s made of wood it rots eventually.

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              • #8
                I don't think that verticals added onto the fence will necessarily look ugly. If you're handy you could maybe create something like this Tooling Up: CNC cut Espalier Apple Trellis (tooling-up.blogspot.com)

                I think it's worth trying have the wires spaced a little bit away from the fence as it will increase airflow, give more space for fruit/ pruning etc. Are you able to remove a few bits of feather board? If so, you could remove the 2 or 3 boards in front of each post, create a support for the wires attached to the post and then butt feather board back up to your new creation for a neat finish.

                Dave

                edit, just re read and seen that you have already talked about removing/re attaching featherboard. Doh. I'd go for that approach. You could maybe find some kind of metal bracket to mount onto your vertical to hold wire a little further out instead of the fancy carpentry used in the link above.
                Last edited by Dave8abond; 23-11-2020, 09:10 PM.

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                • #9
                  Hi all,
                  Ive managed to find a photo i took of the upper section of fence showing the structure. What i think may be best is to do as suggested and add 4x2 where i have marked with red on the photos below and reattach the featherboard.
                  But....
                  I am not convinced that if i set vine eyes into the 4x2 (example in yellow) that they would be able to be tensioned much without pulling the vine eyes at an angle. Is there a good way to attach the wires at each end of the fence?

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    I agree that using the end vine eyes to tension the wire will, at the very least, cause them to bend. The force on the end ones is obviously all in one direction, if the wire finishes at the eye. My bodgey solution would be to continue the wire through the end eyes and then take it round the corner to the upright post at the end behind the eye. How to secure it to the upright depends on what you fancy really. A flat head zinc plated roof nail which you start into the timber a bit them wrap the wire round before hammering it fully home should hold fine, or a couple if staples one to hold the wire first then use a pair of pliers too double the wire over the staple and use a second staple over the in and out strands of wire. Of course there are special wire tensioners which are basically screw type fixings you can buy, but they cost more money than a nail :-)

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                    • #11

                      Have been googling and found these look like they could be tensioned more than a normal vine eye.

                      Link
                      https://www.s3i.co.uk/tensioned-wire-trellis-kits.php

                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jungle Jane View Post
                        I"ve heard of them before for apples but I don"t like them unless the support is strong ever lasting,if it"s made of wood it rots eventually.
                        But as Nick said they don't need support, not even on planting and certainly not once they have put down more roots, even at a 45 degree angle. They don't fall over.

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                        • #13
                          My freestanding pear tree (nearly a cordon,one branch left to cut right back) has been alright for about five years unsupported but the weight of the fruit this year pulled the top half of the tree forward,I"d thinned it well but the density of fruit in that area was too heavy,lucky the trunk was quite bendy but I put a couple of sticks in to support the tree when I noticed. If the tree was only producing a small amount of fruit it doesn"t happen because there"s less weight but a cordon having all its weight in that one area,is so heavy for the top half of the tree,it doesn"t look good bending right over & needs support.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah, a 45 degree cordon will need life-long support. All the fruit, and therefore all the weight, will be on one side, after all. The leverage will be considerable, and if the tree is completely unsupported then either it will snap or it will pull itself part way out of the ground.

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