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Espalier training

Hi all 
I am a beginner to espalier growing. Things have been going well and the first two tiers have grown well.
In May of this year, I cut the main leader in the usual way to create the third tier. Over the summer the main leader has grown well as has the branch on the right hand side. The branch on the left hasn't grown very much at all. 
I am about to bring the new branches down to 90 degrees but want the left to catch up. I attach a picture. One person told me to cut the right hand branch right back, level with the left hand one. 
Any tips would be most welcome! 
Thank you. 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,961
    I would leave them ... the one on the left will either grow, or it will develop a side shoot which will then become the leader instead of that shoot ... it will be slightly lopsided but a tree is a natural thing, even an espalier, and none of them are perfect.  It will also be a season behind the other one in development, but that's nature for you.

    My espaliered pear isn't totally even but it is still a thing of great beauty and fruits well.   :)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hello I myself will be starting to do a step over in the winter, on reading and watching u tube there is a way of taking the vigour out of the main leader you best researching it but the idea is you knip the stem obove your weakest branch and that then stops sap rising to the leader but diverts it below the knip so your weaker branch will get more vigour, but like I say look it up to make sure. 
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,389
    Is this the final tier or will there be a fourth?

    Thinking that if this is the final tier and the main leader had enough flex in it maybe you could retrain that to be the left side arm

    Just out of interest: when your tree started sending out shoots this year did you leave a few to grow and select the two strongest to form the next tier - or did you remove all but two straight away?

    I'm growing my first espaliered apple tree this year so I'm only on the first tier, been pleased with the growth this year. One of the arms was shorter than the other so I lowered the other one to horizontal for a few weeks while the other caught up. They're now about the same - although the original difference wasn't as marked as on yours.

    If this is the third of four tiers - id be tempted to keep the left arm, cut it back slightly to a downward facing bud and hopefully just let it grow out next year. It'll catch up eventually.

    how long is that little branch?
    East Yorkshire
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    edited October 2018
    if you bend the right side branch into position now and reduce it by a third and treat the leader as you normally would for espalier training ,
    but only take the tip out the left branch and don't tie it in (leave it sticking up as vertical growth has more vigour than horizontal growth) that should cause it to put on more growth next year.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,440
    I can't add anything about espaliers as never tried them but did notice from your photo what appears to be a dwarf box hedge around the tree. It looks very smart but unfortunately box is notoriously greedy and will grab all the moisture and nutrients around your tree. I made the same mistake around my roses and am now regretting it, so a friendly warning here.  
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • That box hedge won't affect the tree at all 
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