Q&As/Fruit Trees & Berries/Espaliering Fruit Trees

Question

What varieties of eating Apple or other fruit trees are best to espalier?

Answer

Choose apple varieties that are spur-bearing (fruit grows on small thorn-like shoots called spurs), like Granny Smith. Non-spur bearing varieties won’t produce as much fruit. If possible, choose an apple that is grafted onto EM9 rootstock as it’s exceptionally vigorous, with fast-growing laterals.

Other fruit trees to espalier:

• Pears: Ideal to espalier as they are spur bearing. Need two trees that pollinate each other

• Plums:
Plant either self-fertilising varieties eg: Woolsons Early or Louisa or plant varieties that pollinate each other

• Nashi: Needs two different varieties for pollination

• Persimmons: Grow best in an espaliered form, try the Fuyu variety

• Fig trees: Very vigorous, producing heavy crops after a few years. Prune hard in autumn as they produce fruit on the new season’s growth.

Choose a sunny, well-drained position with a fence, wall or strong wires attached to sturdy stakes to carry the weight of a mature espalier fruit tree. Select a tree (1-1.5 years) with a straight trunk and evenly spaced branches.
Tie the first branches down horizontally, about 500-600mm above ground level. The next set of branches should be 350-400mm above the lower branches.

Water new trees deeply and feed with Daltons Garden Time Fruit and Citrus Fertiliser in early spring and every six weeks till mid-December, recommencing late February till late April.

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Espalier Pear tree