[NAFEX] Re: espalier

Bruce D Kelley drfruit at juno.com
Sat Mar 22 22:11:37 EST 2003

Hello, Rob-

I have several different books about espalier training, but two with very
clear drawings & pruning suggestions are PRUNING by Christopher Brickell
and my old Reader's Digest ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO GARDENING.  Regarding
your questions:

1)  It seems to me that if you tried sweet cherries on some of the new
gisela rootstocks, you could keep the trees small enough.  You will have
to pay a little more, though, as the patent fee for these rootstocks are
(I believe) about $4 per tree.

2)  It depends on what you mean by "poor candidates."  Apple trees have
different growth rates, depending both on rootstock and their own
varietal tendencies; many triploid trees especially (like Gravenstein,
Northern Spy, Mutsu, or Bramley's Seedling) are very strong growers, and
would be much larger trees than others on the same rootstock that are
weak growers (such as Gala, Cox's Orange Pippin, or Delicious).  It wood
be a good idea to try to pick trees that are somewhat similar in size, or
at least "sort" them smallest to largest.  You might also want to space
them differently, giving the larger trees more room.  One last thing that
might make an apple variety a poor candidate is that some (like Northern
Spy) take much longer to start bearing fruit - although in this case at
least, the wait is worth it!

3.  I have a 50 foot long "Belgian Fence" that is about ten years old,
and although I think it would be ineresting to see them "graft together,"
it has never happened yet.  Mine are about a meter apart, which would be
fine for your M-9s & Bud-9s, although you could spread them farther apart
if you want.  Too far apart & it might take a while for them to fill in
the space, though.

Good Luck!

Bruce (Zone 7)

Bruce Kelley, PhD                                         Temperate Fruit
Bell Mountain Fruit
PO Box 1774                                                    Research  
Battle Ground, WA  98604                                    Orchard
(360) 687-9875                                                         

* Apples * Apricots * Asian Pears * Blueberries * Brambles * Cherries *
     * Crabapples * Currants * Figs * Gooseberries * Grapes * Kiwis *
       *  Lingon * Peaches * Pears * Plums * Quinces * Strawberries *
On Wed, 19 Mar 2003 17:06:20 -0500 Rob Halgren <halgren at msu.edu> writes:
> Since I had such luck with raspberries...  Does anybody know of a 
> good 
> reference (in actual paper form) for espalier ?  The information 
> I've been 
> able to find on the web (so far) is seriously lacking.  My major 
> questions 
> so far:
> 1.  Can you espalier cherry with any degree of success?  I might 
> even 
> consider sweet cherries if I could do that (they are too big, 
> otherwise).
> 2.  Are there apple varieties that are particularly poor candidates? 
>  It 
> might be easier to list the bad ones than the good ones.
> 3.  If you set up a 'fence' in a lattice pattern, don't you end up 
> with 
> cross grafting where the branches intersect?  Might that be a 
> problem?
> I have 13 apple varieties (new house, new space) coming as whips on 
> M.9 and 
> Bud9 this spring.  I'm thinking about training them into a fence, 
> but I'm 
> not sure if it is a good idea to mix that many varieties on one 
> trellis.  Or even how far to space them apart on those rootstocks.
> I'm extraordinarily excited about the apples, as I spent my youth in 
> the 
> fruit belt of Michigan, with orchards in all directions.  I have 
> probably 
> forgotten everything I used to know, but hopefully it will come back 
> to 
> me.  Unfortunately that area is rapidly turning into the 'big house 
> on 
> small lot' belt.  The houses are growing more quickly than the 
> trees.
> Rob
> Robert G. Halgren, Ph.D.
> Bioinformatics Specialist
> GTSF - Michigan State University
> http://genomics.msu.edu
> (517) 353-7236    -   halgren at msu.edu
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