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Espalier failure!

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  • Espalier failure!

    Hiya,

    Last year I bought a number of maiden apple tees to train as espaliers. I cut them to about 30cm from the floor, and let them get on with growing.... totally getting distracted from all the proper training that was due to be performed they’re all in various shapes of *bush*.

    My question is... is the situation salvageable: should I cut to... say.... 20cm from the floor and train properly?

    Or do I admit defeat and consider other options?

  • #2
    No such thing as failure, it just didn't go right. I would not give up on them but follow the advice at RHS

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=319

    You might be able to "lightly" prune the bush to bring it back to the right shape.

    Good luck

    Bil

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    • #3
      Depending on how the branches grew, pick out the axis which gives you most stems as options and remove any forward orr backward stray stems. If you have a branch going either way I would tie them down onto a horizontal cane, you will then get buds growing upward, pick the one nearest the centre and let that grow as your new leader,when you have about 18ins of stem you can stop it and get new sideshoots, which will grow and you can tie down again and start the same method again, all that's needed now is some warmer weather..good luck..

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      • #4
        Reading the initial post I would say grow as bushes.
        Otherwise use what you have and select 2 equiheight branches on opposite sides and train them, just take 2 years to get them horizontal. Basically don't rush it.

        Training fruit trees is not a simple endevour and the idea of deciding to train as espaliers then cutting to 30cm amd leaving them to get on with it is sort of at odds with training. Basically are you going to train them? I tried then abandoned the idea, I wasn't around enough and planted in the wrong place.

        Even when trained they need continuous management, as in monthly I expect, even every 2 weeks during the growing season.

        Not 100% sure but for Espaliers I suspect you need spur bearing apple varieties. The pruning is different for spur and tip brearing varieties.

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