Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

A question on espalier training

Here is a photo of the pear tree I bought and planted in February. It seems to be growing well! And, following advice on your web site, I plan to install the first espalier wire in the next couple of weeks.

young espalier pear

I see the two side branches growing at about 45 degrees to the main stem, with new growth on them going vertically upwards. Instruction on the website says tie them at 60 degrees to the horizontal. My question is, how high above the fork where the side branches come out, should I install the espalier wire? I assume I should do nothing about the tying new growth until August – is that right? At which point I will bend them to go along the wire.

Dan Neuteboom replies:
You have done a first class job of planting your tree. Just do nothing now and let the tree do its growing. By the middle of August adjust the angle of the 2 main side branches to approx. 60 degrees to the vertical centre leader. By August therefore place the horizontal wire at such a height to achieve this. Do not cut back or prune any of the branches.

Read more about espalier training.

One response to “A question on espalier training

  1. Joanne Licsko June 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Dear Mr. Neuteboom,

    Last summer, starting around August first, I summer-pruned my seven old apple trees with overall success. However, my favourite tree surprised me a few weeks later with many new flowering spurs, (see photo below) and by the time the frost arrived, I had a whole crop of two inch apples. None were developed enough to eat, and I am sure it was not good for the tree to produce two crops before loosing its leaves. I didn’t find the time to remove the little apples, and I admit I was a bit curious to see if they would acquire any flavour. The tree blossomed fully this year with more fruiting spurs than last year, and looks as healthy as ever.

    My primary purpose for summer-pruning is to keep the trees from getting any bigger, and keep them from producing so many water spouts. I also think they look better in the landscape both summer and winter.

    Do you have any advice on how I can summer-prune this year without causing added stress to the tree?

    Many thanks for your helpful blog,

    Joanne Licsko
    Crofton, British Columbia, Canada.

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