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

Espaliered Fruit Trees, Part 3

Espaliered nectarine at Longwood GardensSo, you want to create an espalier fruit tree without paying $60 for a starter?  Don't worry --- many types of fruit trees can be grown using the espalier technique.  It's really just an exaggeration of the pruning and training techniques you'd use on your free-standing fruit trees.

Your first step is to find an appropriate tree.  Apples and pears are highly recommended (along with citrus if you live in a suitable climate.)  Peaches and nectarines (like the one shown here) are supposed to be more difficult, especially if you want to grow them in a system with horizontal limbs like Monday's fig.  European plums, cherries, and apricots are not recommended.

Choose a tree grafted onto a dwarf rootstock so that it won't try to take over the world.  You'll want to find a one to two year old "unbranched whip" --- basically, a tree which is young enough to only be a trunk with no side branches.  As usual, consider what zone you live in, disease resistance, and pollinators.

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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