Thursday, April 8, 2010

Espalier Pruning


The deciduous fruit trees are all being espalier trained.  These baby trees are entering their 2nd year in the garden.  They all had a nice spurt of growth for the most part and needed a pruning.  Here’s the progress from January 1, 2010 to April 7, 2010 after their pruning.

Santa Rosa Plum – No fruit set.  Abundant leaves.DSC_1351_2745


O’Henry Peach – Fruit set for second year.DSC_1352_2746



Granny Smith Apple – Fruit set for second year.DSC_1353_2747



Warren Pear – No blossoms.  Abundant leaves.DSC_1355_2749


Fantasia Nectarine – No fruit set.  Lower left branch has no leaves.DSC_1356_2750


Blenheim Apricot – No fruit set.  Dang it.DSC_1357_2751


The bare root trees were planted on January 12, 2009.

January 12, 2009 – View westDSC_0153_085

April 7, 2010 – View westDSC_1497_3865


January 12, 2009 – View east.



April 7, 2010 – View east.DSC_1500_3868

That’s a dwarf grapefruit tree in the background by the way.  It has blooms and little, baby fruit right now.  Looking healthy.

This is a tool I use to keep track of the progress in the garden and may be of no interest to anyone but me.  Thanks.


Lisa Paul said...

Whew! This is so ambitious. I'm prostrate with exhaustion just reading about it. My gardening today consisted of reading the back of a pack of radish seeds and thinking about planting.


Oh come on, Lisa. Vineyards take an enormous amount of work. You beat me in the ambition category.

Melissa Price said...

Maybelline, I saw this done for the first time a few weeks ago. Amazing! I'm thinking of all the work it would save me at harvest time. We have apple, pear, peach, plum, and fig trees. All grown in the traditional manner. I see a step ladder in my future!

About my tomatoes... we'll use traditional tomato cages for our heirlooms. I'm glad you're trying some heirloom tomatoes this year. It's amazing the variety you can get with heirloom seeds. I would love to know what variety you are planting... :)

Lisa Paul said...

Actually, you'd be surprised. Once they are planted and tied up, they pretty much take care of themselves. They don't like to be fertilized, don't care for much water, generally like rocky, horrible soil. It's getting them OFF the vines when the tough stuff begins.

Maureen said...

Thanks so much for this post....especially the added visuals!

I do have a question about starting the espalier process. Do you start by cutting the tree trunk down to a single leader and wait for the side branches or do you train from what you start with? ....In other words, if we have bare root trees that have no growth below the 3 ft. point, how do we get some lower branches?



*Melissa - The tomatoes I'm using this season are Carbon, Mule Team, Al Kuffa, Henderson's Ponderosa Pink, and Arkansas Traveler. The seeds were purchased from Baker Creek. I thought that heirlooms grow very tall (6'-8'). That's why I was curious to know what supports you used.

*Lisa - I pruned a stem of my Red Flame this morning to route the growth energy to the main stem. It was brutal. I'm trying to root the cut stem; but the prognosis is not good.

*Maureen - All my trees were purchased as bare roots in January 2009. I believe they are grown up your way by Dave Wilson. Once they were planted, I eyeballed what twiggy branches would be best trained laterally.
Unwanted branches were trimmed away and the remaining were tied to the support wires.
How to Prune Fruit Trees by R. Sanford Martin is a handy guide. You most likely can purchase it for a few bucks at your local nursery. Your question about growth below 3' is something I'm contemplating regarding my peach and nectarine trees. Grafting may be the answer. This is something I need to learn; so stay turned.
Feel free to use the "labels" guide on the right side of this page for any reference to espalier. The internet is a wonderful tool.

Donna said...

Wow, this is so impressive! I've always wanted to do this, but never have.

By the way, I LOVE your banner photo!


Christine said...

Your espaliers are beautiful. And the photos show a transformation of your garden as well. I love to see "before" and "after" photos. Thank you for sharing.