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Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

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Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/13/2013, 11:52 pm

I am now a proud owner of 4 espalier trees - two apples and two pears.
I am sure I've bitten more than I could chew, but I've always wanted to try espaliers, and this year I decided it's time.
I built a standalone supporting fence for them and decided to start with 4 trees. If everything goes as planned (and it never does, but who cares), I'll add 4 more next year.
I got Yellow Delicious, Fameuse apples, and Comice and Belle Lucrative pears.

Want to add: quince, sour cherries (the only kind that will tolerate AL heat), apricots and plums.

Fameuse Apple, as of today it's already sprouting (been 6 days since planting)


Espalier fence, my girly hands put together. What a pain in the butt it was to hammer those post anchors into the ground:


Last edited by camprn on 4/14/2013, 12:24 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Enhanced title)
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/14/2013, 12:08 am

Oh I am so impressed! That looks wonderful! Doesn't that make you feel like you could do almost anything now?
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/14/2013, 8:22 am

JEALOUS! JEALOUS! JEALOUS! No

Good for you!!!!

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JUST DO IT!

Post  kat51415 on 4/14/2013, 8:32 am

I want to do some of this when I start my orchard. Now, thanks to you, I know I can do it by myself. Don't need the hubby to drop what he's doing (that he thinks is more important than what I want done, always) to do for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Espalier is so pretty when filled in with leaves and fruit. Did you use dwarf varieties?
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/14/2013, 10:05 am

Yes, these are all dwarfs. I bought 2-year old trees from Henry Leuthard nursery. They only carry spur-bearing fruit trees, specifically selected for espaliers. Took a long time to get them (that nursery is a mom-and-pop place, and their customer service has much to be desired), and they replaced one variety of apples, because they didn't have the one I wanted (Johnathan was replaced with Fameuse), but the trees came very well packaged and looking super robust, already pruned to have a lower tier in place. Hopefully it was worth the wait.

For the fence, I used "OZ-post" anchors (bought online). They are a pain to drive into the ground, but the good news is -- no concrete is required, they are super strong, and, if you change your mind, you will be able to dig them up and place them elsewhere. Then you just use regular chain-link fence posts to install into the anchors, and use the provided tension rings to hold the posts in place. I bought my posts and the upper rail online through the "blue" home improvement store, and then delivered to my house, because upper rails were 21 ft long each, no way to fit them on our truck. Also, I chose to buy green ones, and none of the stores have green ones on hand, you have to order them (same price though). But online, I was able to match green posts with bolts, caps, and rings. They even had a green wire, but i didn't care for that.

Posts were 1-7/8" diameter, 7' ft tall, and installed at 10' ft intervals. The upper rail was 1-3/8" diameter, 21' long. I bought two and joined them (they have special swedges for joining), and then cut off about 2' ft.

I drilled through-holes in each post at 24, 40, and 56 inches high, using a 3/16 drill bit.

I got a 12 gauge wire, threaded through the drilled holes and around on the ends of the fence, and secured them with two u-bolts screwed into opposite directions. Also the other end of each wire (which you don't see on the picture) was equipped with a large turn buckle, to keep the wires taut. I only stretched three tiers of wire. Upper rail will be handy for throwing the bird-net over it, thus creating a tent of netting over the trees. I also have a wild idea of planting kiwi plants around the posts, and let them climb on the posts, and over the upper rail, but I still have to research this subject -- might be too shady for fruit trees if kiwi hangs over Smile
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Now to show my ignorance...

Post  kat51415 on 4/14/2013, 10:12 am

could you use full size varieties, I wonder? I have a large area on the back side of our big pond that I want to use for the orchard but its a good distance from the house. I'm afraid the dwarf varieties wouldn't make it past the first deer to leisurely stroll past and take notice. We have huge herds of the tasty beggars and I anticipate a huge battle over the orchard.
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/14/2013, 1:36 pm

Not sure, actually. I think the whole idea of espalier is to make them accessible. With large tree you may not have that luxury, I'd say might as well let them grow freely, just prune once a year to bump the yields.
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  plantoid on 4/14/2013, 2:24 pm

Can you not run a light fence of 2 inch mesh chicken wire three feet from the espalier row to keep the deer off . That way you can use dwarf stock .

Quite a few years ago I used 3 mtr ( 10 foot ) tall braced concrete wire fencing posts for both the fencing and the training wires of 11 espaliers that I grew from being normal dwarf stock . The posts allowed a better tensioning of the attaching wires . With concrete posts you dont need a top rail and you can put a bird net over the top wire if needs be

From start to the first decent harvest took me five years with plenty of judicious pruning once a year , but it was worth while to pick fruit at knee to head height .
I made the gated enclosure at one end 8 feet wide with five feet free at each end . It kept out our goats , goose and the local red deer out, it also allowed me to run the mower over the grass every fortnight or so .
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congrats! thanks for the info

Post  hillcountryhick on 4/14/2013, 4:09 pm

1st off, what a great job you have done with your new fruit trees. Good luck and Good Growin'!
thanks for sending the info one the name of the nursery you got them from. I must say I haven't seen any available in the many nursery catalogs I get.
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/14/2013, 5:14 pm

No problem. Just beware, if you want to buy any trees from Leuthards, be prepared, they are waaaaaay laid back for me. You'll be calling them to check on your order more than a few times if you want your trees Smile. I ordered mine in October for late fall shipment. First it was too warm to dig them up, then Hurricane Sandy came, then it was too cold, snowy, Christmasy, too cold again... Long story short, I got my trees 10 days ago Smile They have a great reputation in terms of trees, but as I said before, customer service is non-existent. Their site doesn't have lots of great information either. You need to research the varieties they offer. But their varieties are very good.

Maybe my order was way too small for them to bother, I don't know. I never ordered fruit trees before, and it was like pulling teeth!

http://www.henryleuthardtnurseries.com/
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/14/2013, 7:08 pm

Congrats on your new fruit trees!!...we are new parents as well... Very Happy

please keep us posted thru out growing with pic's will love seeing how the bloom and produce and such.....I just love the look of the espalier trees....you can even have them shape them selves into any kind of shape you wanted them to grow in....its pretty cool to see them growing up against a building wall....reminds me a lot of how you would grow grape vines....pretty neat.... Very Happy

happy gardening
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/21/2013, 7:10 pm

Day 14 after planting pictures:

Fameuse Apple, day 14. Sprouted throughout the branches.


Comice Pear, day 14. Sprouted very nicely all over. Keeps throwing out new buds where the old ones were rubbed off. It's determined to grow out everywhere Smile.
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/29/2013, 1:34 pm

Yellow Delicious apple took the longest to wake up. I was starting to have my doubts about its vitality. But yesterday morning I came outside to check, and found all branches filled with leaves, and two 5-6 flower clusters of incredible fucsia color. This is the only tree so far that has flower buds. Can't wait for them to open up!

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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Kelejan on 4/29/2013, 3:04 pm

Weedless, I hope you have researched how to care for them. I only worry for you because I know nothing (yet) about espaliered fruit trees; they do look beautiful though. Very Happy
Last year I planted tomatoes but did not know what I was doing. Complete disaster, but I now have read up on it and I think I know what I will be doing this season..
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Weedless_ on 4/29/2013, 3:18 pm

No one knows everything about anything. And the only way to learn is to start doing it. No amount of reading will replace the experience. I started SFG in June of 2010, and everything worked out. Have I been attacked by vicious bugs and heat and underproductive soil? You bet, I have. But I adjusted on the go, and by the end of season I had squash that wouldn't stop growing through Thanksgiving, and a lettuce forest Smile. Next year was better.
I did the same with many projects around the house, including, but not limited to reupholstering a large couch and a chair. It all worked out.
As for espalier, I've been wanting to grow these for a long time. I built the fence myself, and read everything there is to be read about it, and got me an American Horticultural Society book on pruning and training. Also got the dwarf trees from a reputable espalier growing nursery. The rest is up to the weather-man above Smile. I am ready!
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  jazzycat on 4/29/2013, 9:03 pm

Nice! I'll bet you're excited! Keep the pictures coming!

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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  sanderson on 7/22/2013, 1:29 pm

Weedless, I was just looking at non-SFG topics and found this. Great looking set up. How did your trees do.? Can you post an updated photo of your 4 Espaliered fruit trees? Thanks
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

Post  Millenia on 7/23/2013, 1:54 pm

You've done a great job.

This is really tempting to try. My husband informed me we can only grow apples and pears here if we spray weekly. This would sure make it a lot easier to do that.
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Re: Espalier: Totally braggin' like a proud mama

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