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Espalier apple tree

Hi fellow gardeners,

I need help
I bought a dwarf jonas gold apple tree yesterday. And I wish to train it espalier. 
My questions are:
the plant is still very short. So do I start training now, or do I wait till it has grown a bit to start the training?
the plant already has branches. However can I encourage more in anyway other than cutting the top stem cause it has already been cut
(it came in pot grown, didn’t have much choice as all the garden centres are closed had to take what was available)


  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,511
    Picture would help as we need to see how big it is and what branches shape it is now.
  • ~Mia~~Mia~ Posts: 5
    Thank you for the suggestion. Here’s what it looks like at the moment 
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,511

    This is my espallier apple, free standing, and actually two varieties on one root stock, so two frames one for each variety.
    Apple need a permanent frame, that is why mine is robust. The bottom rung is different hights as they were at different levels when bought, it depends on how pliable the branch is as to how low the first one is.
    The first at 17" looks as if it might bend, the one at 14" looks thicker and may not go quite straight at the middle but would at the end. The two at 5" would make a nice next level.
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,511
    After that it's a case of picking a top cane to use as the new main stem, train it upright, and cutting it at the point you want the next layer above a bud.
    I noticed you had the tree tipped back a bit, it needs to stay away from the wall, otherwise you will loose some of the fruiting abilities from that side.

    Sorry my picture from a year ago isn't too clear, best I could find for now. The tree has now its third and final layer now making it a total of about 7'. 
  • ~Mia~~Mia~ Posts: 5
    Thank you. It’s very helpful. Your espalier and the alliums look lovely. 
    Yes I need to put a permanent frame to support the tree but since I wasn’t sure where to begin I thought I’ll wait till I’ve made up my mind. ( I put some bamboo sticks around the tree temporally to  stop my dog accidentally running though it)
    I will try to do what you suggested. Some are mailable and one or two aren’t. 
    In the picture A is quite hard
    B is bendy
    c can be bent
    c is also bendy
    d is not quite in the two dimension. It’s coming from the back but is bendy
    E is sticking to the front so that might be the one I’ll try to train up like you suggested. But it is also hardening
    F is hard

  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,511
    Well it's either C&B as the lowest, mind you there is that little branch under D, so that would make a tier. It will take a few years to get it how you want, when you straighten the branches make sure the ends point up to encourage sap to the ends. Mine is now four years old , so expect a tier a year.😁
  • ~Mia~~Mia~ Posts: 5
    Thank you very much. You were very helpful 😊
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,511
    Your very welcome 😀
  • jayne10bjayne10b Posts: 95
    Hi Everyone
    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have 2 greengages that I am trying to espalier.  I will post photos tomorrow, but my problem is getting growth at the bottom.  Is there any way of stimulating a short stubby branch at the bottom to put on growth and become the lower down part of the fan?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 80,527
    Stone fruits such as plums, gages, damsons and cherries are better fan-trained rather than trained as espaliers

    Lots of info here 

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

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