The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Espaliered Fruit Trees, Part 4

Three main espalier formsNow it's time to choose your training system.  There are scads of shapes out there to choose from, but they come down to one basic decision --- will your main branches be horizontal, vertical, or at an angle?

Longwood Gardens has discovered that you get the maximum fruit per tree by using a 45 degree branching angle, like the one shown in the bottom picture.  This shape is often referred to as a "fan" and is also one of the few espalier techniques which really works with peaches and nectarines.  If you want your garden to wow the neighbors, though, you might consider creating your own artistic shape.  Just keep the optimal branch angle in mind!

Your chosen training system will help determine what kind of trellis or other support system you'll build.  Walls are a traditional support --- keep the espaliered fruit tree about six inches from the wall to allow for air flow and attach the trunk and branches at intervals with eye bolts or anchors.  Wooden or metal trellises can also be used.

This post is part of our Espaliered Fruit Trees lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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