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Espaliered Apple Tree Recommendations for SW France

We have a property in SW France and want to plant a series (6 or 8) of espaliered apple trees against open supports (wires strained between vertical oak posts) to act as a natural separation between our vegetable garden and the lawns.

The climate is not unlike southern England but typically 5deg warmer in summer and 5deg colder in winter - so with periods of frost.  Being against open supports, rather than a wall, the trees will also be more exposed to wind.  They will face south (but obviously their backs will be open to the north). Prevailing winds are from the West and the site is semi-sheltered (surrounded by trees at a distance of about 20-30 meters, but not casting shade).

An irrigation system is in place to automatically water during extended dry spells as required (although Gascony is actually fairly green).

My main concern is whether trees espaliered against an open framework, rather than a wall, would be viable in winter.  Can anyone confirm whether this is likely to work and, if so, what varieties of apple and root stocks would be most suitable for the climate and location?  Probably an older variety is more likely to be hardy and resistant to problems than a more sensitive recent cultivar - but I'm not an expert.

Many thanks



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,053

    I don't think cold will be an issue as apples are as tough as they come in that respect and actually require a certain length of cold weather but summer heat might be an issue although your irrigation system will undoubtedly help.  Look at the Orange Pippin site for advice on suitable varieties.  These are recommended for southern Europe:

    They can also give you advice on which of those varieties are suitable for training as espaliers.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,625

    These people are dedicated to tracking down as many historic varieties of British apple as they can find. Many came originally from France. Their website is a mine of information about apples, their origins and how they came to be rediscovered in many cases.

    Some apples, such as Nonpareil, are ancient. Some, such as Fenouillet Rouge, just sound delicious.

    I am currently waiting for this company to tell me that my order has been successfully grafted and will be in the post this autumn. 

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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