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Espaliered Fruit Trees

If you think your garden is too small for a fruit tree, you may be wrong. Fruit trees are some of the most amenable plants — they can be trained along walls and fences and look beautiful and even fruit better when grown in this way.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
fruit trees can be trained along wall or fence How To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

When to Start: Late winter or early spring
At Its Best: Spring and fall
Time to Complete: 5 hours

Materials Needed:

  • several bare-root apple or pear trees, espaliered
  • bamboo canes
  • well-composted organic matter
  • shovel
  • wire, vine eyes and twine
  • mulch

Measure Planting Distances

Fix horizontal wires to the fence or wall at 24-inch intervals. Cordons can be planted as close together as 12 inches, depending on the effect you want to create. Decide on your spacing, and measure along the wall or fence, marking each planting spot with a cane. Dig holes large enough to accommodate the root balls easily.

fix horizontal wires to fence or wall for treeHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Plant and Trim Roots

Plant the cordon at an angle of about 45 degrees. Examine the roots of each plant and cut off any that are large or woody, to encourage new feeding roots, and thin those above the soil. Make sure the graft union (scar on the stem) is above the surface.

cut any roots that are woody to encourage growthHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Attach Trees to Canes

Firm in the soil around the roots with your foot. Push the canes into the soil at the same angle as the trees. Tie the cordons to the canes, and tie the canes to the horizontal wires. Make sure all of your plants are securely fastened and aligned.

make sure plants are securely fastened and alignedHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Apply Mulch

Water the trees well after planting and apply a mulch of chipped bark, keeping it clear of the stems, to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Water the trees regularly during their first year. Apply a tree and shrub granular fertilizer around the trees every spring, and replenish the mulch afterward.

add mulch of chipped bark for moisture and weedsHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Routine Pruning

Remove the flowers the first year after planting to encourage strong roots. Prune cordons each year in late summer. Shorten all woody sideshoots to within a few leaves of the stem to help promote fruiting spurs.

routine pruning of trees will strengthen treeHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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