Training fruit trees

I'd been looking to buy some fruit trees and the local garden centre had some nice fan trained ones for £40+... then I was in B&Q and they had some discounted to £7, so I took a punt. I went a bit overboard and got 3 different apple varieties, a couple of pears, a couple of cherries, and a plum. 

However, these ones are about 150cm tall, with dwarf rootstock, not many side shoots lower down. Is there any way I can encourage new shoots lower down so I can train these as espalier, as I have a small garden. 

I've read some sites that say you can cut them down to 30cm after planting, which will take some bravery. The cherry I wanted to do as a fan.

Posts

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,851

    FRUIT TREES, LIKE MOST OTHER PLANTS, DEVELOP ACCORDING TO SOMETHING CALLED APICAL DOMINANCE. THE APICAL (MAIN CENTRAL) BUD HAS DOMINANCE. IF THE APICAL BUD IS REMOVED THE PLANT CHOOSES ANOTHER BUD, OR BUDS, TO BECOME DOMINANT.

    image

    THE PLANTS THAT YOU SAW IN THE GARDEN CENTRE HAD HAD TIME AND EFFORT SPENT ON GETTING THEM TO OVERCOME APICAL DOMINANCE BY REPEATED PRUNING OF THE APICAL BUDS. 

    THE PLANTS YOU BOUGHT FOR SEVEN QUID HAD NOT BEEN TREATED TO THIS TIME CONSUMING ATTENTION. THEY MAY EVEN HAVE HAD POTENTIAL SIDE BUDS REMOVED IN ORDER TO MAKE THEM FOLLOW THE RULE OF APICAL DOMINANCE AND BECOME NICE, TALL, THIN, STRAIGHT PLANTS WITH FEW SIDE SHOOTS.

    IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FANS AND ESPALIERS YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO BACK TO SQUARE ONE. CUT THE PLANTS DOWN TO 30CMS ABOVE THE GRAFT AND, OVER THE COURSE OF THREE OR FOUR YEARS, PRUNE THEM AND TRAIN THEM TO FOLLOW YOUR RULES NOT THEIR OWN.

    ALL AN INTERESTING LEARNING CURVE FOR YOU. 

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Thanks for the reply

    Yes, a lot of learning to do! After years of reading and watching Monty Don make it look easy, putting it in to practice finally is quite nerve wracking.  I'll have to bite the bullet and cut some of them down for retraining, and I will keep some of them as simple cordons...

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,902

    Cordons can be very productive and take up less space so you will have room for more in any given space. If you plant them at a 45 degree angle they look attractive too.  Glass Half full image

    More advice at www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=87. However the picture they use is of a double U cordon one of the most difficult shapes to achieve.

    www.growveg.co.uk/guides/cordon-fruit-trees-how-to-get-the-best-harvest-from-a-small-garden/

    Better picture & more advice here.

    AB Still learning

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