Sunday, 3 July 2011

Espalier update

It's been two months since I obtained three heritage apple varieties, with the intent of training them as espaliers.  I planted them up in some large pots, cut them back to about 15 inches high, after having determined that the cut would leave 3 appropriately oriented buds to form the branches that will become the skeleton of my espaliers.  Things have generally gone well so far.  Some of my buds were a little sluggish to get going at the beginning, but they did all eventually sprout as desired.  There have been some minor infestations, which I managed to control with a bit of insecticidal soap, and now I have lots of ladybird larvae around the pots, so they should do a good job of keeping things clean.  The new branches are now about 8-12 inches long, so I have made a training framework in each pot from bamboo canes, and tied the main leaders in.  The side branches are being adjusted to control the growth of the tips to try to keep each side even.  Allowing the branch to grow in a more upright position accelerates growth, and pulling them down to a more horizontal position retards growth.  By playing with this balance I should be able to keep them more or less even on each side.  They still look a bit puny and pathetic, but I'm excited to see things moving in the right direction.
Three branches only, oriented like a cross, waiting to be tied in to a frame

A little caterpillar chomped through the growing tip of this branch.  Thankfully another new bud is coming in just close to the growing tip, so I think all will be well.

Here's one of the trees tied to the frame.  Still a little immature, but I guess it's technically an espalier now.


  1. It's coming along nicely! Where do you think you'll place your trees? I can't wait to see them "grow up"! Hope you're enjoying your summer!


  2. I haven't completely decided on their final location, but will need to make that decision by the fall. My original plan was to use them to create a sort of hedge on the west side of my garden, but I'm not completely sure they'll get enough sun there. Hope you had a nice long weekend!