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Help needed with espalier apple

This is a coxs orange pippin which my mum chose last year. She passed away very quickly after so it is of real sentimental importance but unfortunately all I managed to do was put it in a bigger pot. I didn't do any pruning and I don't know how to put it right. Do i just leave it until later in the year,  try to prune it now? I also need to move it to its final destination in the garden - when is the right time? All help gratefully received :-) 


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,275
    edited March 2020
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Sorry to hear about your mum. Your apple tree will be a lovely, long lasting reminder of her.

    I would recommend that you get hold of a copy of a book by Harry Baker called “Growing Fruit”. It is an excellent guide. Out of print but still available online.

    Here is an extract from it which might help you with your present problem.  As you can see, it says to prune the tree in the summer. Clearly it would be easier to move the tree after pruning, but then that would mean keeping it in its pot for several more months.

    If you have help in the form of two extra hands, I would move it to its permanent position this spring, when all risk of frost is over. Tie it in securely so that winds don’t damage the branches then prune it in the summer.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Thank you so much, that gives me a much more confident starting point! I'll leave the long shoots as they are for now and start to prune them back in July/August, but I'll move it into position in April 😊 Fingers crossed and I'll have a look for the book too 🤞
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 85,976
    Another vote here for Harry Baker’s Growing Fruit. It’s my fruit pruning bible and I’ve trained a very successful espaliered pear by following his instructions. 😊  

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

  • FireFire Posts: 17,307
    I am no expert but the tree look happy to me and growing. You might want to losely bind in more bamboo struts laterally to keep the growing tiers straight. Will the final tree be the height of the fence we can see - or higher? Are two tiers best of are you wanting more? Can the tree go in right away of are you waiting?

    @Mr. Vine Eye  is great on this.
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,385
    What a lovely thing to have.

    Are you planning on planting it to grow against the fence or a wall? Do you know what rootstock the tree is on as that will determine its ultimate size.

    Some of those laterals could do with pruning now ideally before growth starts as they missed the summer prune, otherwise it’ll be wasting energy growing out shoots that you’re just going to end up removing completely later in the year.

    I’ll have a proper look in the morning!

    @Fire - very kind of you to say so! 😊
    East Yorkshire
  • FireFire Posts: 17,307
    @Mr. Vine Eye  You have been hugely helpful in my efforts.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Do you, or any near neighbours, have any other apple trees?  I just mention this because most apples are not self-fertile and you need one or two others to pollinate each other.  Or long-range bees!
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