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Apple Espalier not fruiting

Hello! I planted my espalier, a Christmas pippin, around six years ago. It fruited well for the first couple of years I think, but was neglected after that due to the birth of two babies within close proximity. During those years I pruned it in the winter, without realising espaliers are supposed to be pruned late summer, and without really knowing what I was doing. Last summer I finally pruned it ‘correctly’ at the end of August. But this year again there is very little fruit. We have a very small garden, and it spans the whole of one sunny wall, it otherwise looks healthy. I absolutely love it, but can anyone tell me how to get it to fruit? 

Many thanks 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,102
    Hi @Katie.partington and welcome to the forum 😊 

    Is there a suitable pollination partner in the vicinity?  Maybe there used to be and it’s been felled?

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

  • Sorry I should have been clearer, there are no flowers, so no fruit.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge Posts: 2,451
    Did you check what other varieties are needed to pollinate it? Here's a handy list on a specialist site: 

    Wonder if any neighbours cut down any trees they had which originally helped pollinate it?

    Let's see what everyone else will say! Does look lovely. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Yes thank you, its not flowering, so nothing to pollinate. 
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge Posts: 2,451
    Very must be unhappy to not even flower. Worth clearing some grass away from the base and give it some fertiliser and a little mulch, even if it's an established tree it will appreciate it. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,315
    I have a Christmas Pippin. It’s a lovely apple. Mine’s a bit quiet this year too.

    Apple trees make growth in two ways. On year one, they make long branches, or extend existing long branches.

    On year two they make “spurs”, little side branches, along the long branches that they made in year one. The spurs are where the flowers form.

    If you have been cutting the branches in such a way that spurs have no space to form, because you have shortened year one’s branches, you won’t have any flowers in year two.

    If you pruned the tree correctly last year, and you prune it correctly again this year, you should have flowers next year.  

    Unless of course, it has a sulk as mine has this year.🙂
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Ah lovely, thank you for your responses. I will endeavour to prune properly again this year and cross my fingers for flowers next year. I’ll add in some feed and mulch too for good measure. Any recommendations for which feed or mulch to use? I have never done either.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,315
    I don’t do either but then I don’t have any espaliers. Not my style I’m afraid.🙂
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge Posts: 2,451
    Just any fertiliser you may have around, preferably an organic composition will do, you can mulch with some compost or soil improver...but can be a bit but and miss with such supplies. Good luck with it. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    I have the same with some cordons that got neglected, need to summer prune this year and next before I will see apples again. Kicking myself as they were doing really well, but got very distracted from the garden for a couple of years.

    I mulch with well rotted horse poop. Great stuff if you have local stables.
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