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Step Over Tree Query

Hi all,
I am looking at adding a couple of step over trees to my plot but I have never planted any fruit trees in the past so I was wondering is there anything specific I need to pay attention too.
I have read a few articles and some of the information is contradicting so I wanted just to get all my guidance from one point (so here). I am looking at apple step overs but also looking at possibly pears if this helps the query.
Also can this be done with any variety or do I need specific varieties, more than one of each for pollination etc?
Thank you in advance.

Posts

  • pinutpinut Posts: 190
    Step-over fruit trees are very easy to make yourself.

    You will have more control over the eventual shape of the tree if you start with an ordinary young sapling but it would also be possible using an established mature tree during the training phase.

    As you want fruit to appear all along the branches when they are trained parallel to the horizontal, you will need to choose spurr bearer trees rather than tip bearers (this applies to apple varieties).

    Since apple and pear trees are quite common in the UK, I would say that there is no real need to get pollenating partners but they do help.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,068
    The principles with step overs and espalier fruit trees are pretty much the same - just with less height and less complex training for step overs.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,135
    Some useful info from this very good nursery-
    https://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/helpdesk/fruit-tree-advice/step-over-trained-trees

    You need the right rootstock which is usually M27 for stepover apples - very dwarfing
    Then it's up to you which variety you want

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • pinutpinut Posts: 190
    Dwarfing rootstocks do certainly help but are not necessary. You must remember that fruit tree training existed long before the rootstocks were introduced.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,068
    edited September 2022
    The RHS and Alys recommend M27 and describes two different methods of training here. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/nov/16/alys-fowler-step-over-apples



    Titchmarsh on step-overs (quick overview).

    Step-over traning is most commonly done with apples and pears. It's not suitable for stone fruit. Some varieties of apple of self-fertile. Make sure that there is no grass near the base of the trees and no competition from weeds or other plants close by. Keep really well watered for the first few years. Prune in winter and summer. Manure well, but keep manure/ mulch away from the trunks (not touching). 



  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,135
    You can use any rootstock, but the benefit of a dwarfing rootstock greatly increases the number of fruiting spurs and will be much nicer to look at.

    With an ordinary rootstock you may get 2 or 3 fruiting spurs for a given length with bare wood between each node - because the branches will want to grow very long.

    With a dwarfing rootstock you may get 5 or 6 fruiting spurs for the same length and not much sign of bare wood between the nodes - because the rootstock is controlling the length of the branches and how fast they grow.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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