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dwarf espalier apples

Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum, so I'm hoping to get some advice on the best sort of apple variety (dessert) to grow as a dwarf, espalier. I have a 2ft 7 height deck with a panelled area ideal for planting a row of apple trees (south facing), There is also a balustrade giving extra height if necessary. What varieties and root stock would you suggest?  Many thanks, Dale


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,536
    edited November 2019
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    The main thing is, what varieties do you like to eat? No point in growing something that does fantastically well in the garden but every time you see one you think “Oh lord, have I got to eat more of those?”

    Anyway, not a lot of height, so you want to buy a tree that has been grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock. See more about those on the link below.

    And the espalier method naturally removes the tips of branches so you don’t want to buy a variety that produces most of its fruit there, ‘cos you won’t have any.😁

    Here are some suggestions, based on those basic criteria,

    but of course, there are thousands of varieties to choose from.

    I grow Christmas Pippin, which you will see on the link.  As it’s a new variety it is relatively disease free. A bit like a Cox’s Orange Pippin without all the hassle.

    Egremont Russet is much liked by some, but I find the rough skin unappealing and so it has to be “un-appeeled” 😊 with a knife before I can enjoy the flesh.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • The lack of height won't be a problem if you choose a dwarfing rootstock.  You can grow apples as "stepover" trees if you like, with just two "arms" to their branches.  Rootstock plus correct pruning will keep them the shape you want.

    Don't forget that many apples need a pollinator.  The Orange Pippin site linked by Pansyface will tell you which varieties will pollinate each other.

    It's a good thing we're all different... I love the rough skin on a russet!
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737
    edited November 2019
    My understanding is that for espaliers you don’t go for the most dwarfing rootstock as the tree needs some ‘oomph’ to counteract the pruning, so that it grows the laterals that you need. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thanks everyone for your help. All great advice which will help me get started on this project. 
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