Plants and trees, including the apple trees, can be trained so that they grow like espaliers and fans. This growth can be accustomed to proliferation on the trellis or the walls.
Difference between Fan and Espalier
Fan-shaped and trained fruit trees have short trunks with branches growing outwards and upwards. In espalier trees, the trunk will grow towards the top and the branches will keep on coming off at regular intervals horizontally. The latter is often used for pears and apples.
Growing Apple Tree as Espalier and Fan
Many varieties of pear and apple trees (producing spur fruits and not the fruits growing on branch tips) can be easily trained to grow as the espaliers and the fans. However, you should not try the Espalier training for the cherries, figs, and plums, which are better suited for fan growth. For apples, the espalier growth can be even more productive and provides for easy maintenance as well.
Training the Apple Trees for Espalier Fan Growth
If you are living in a Northern state, you should be growing the fan or espalier trained apple tree on the south-facing walls. However, you can also choose the Southwest or the Southeast orientations.
- If you are new to it, you should first begin by ordering a maiden and one-year fruit tree.
- Now you can prepare the planting hole. If you are trying to train your Apple espalier fan tree against the wall, ensure that the tree has been planted approximately 10 inches from the brick wall. Angle the tree towards your wall.
- You can ensure that the roots of the tree do not damage the foundations. For it, plant it approximately 24 inches away.
- You can place your Apple plant and tree in the hole and spread its roots downwards and outwards.
- After the plantation, cut down the stem of the tree so that a Y-shaped bottom leg is formed.
- Do not worry if you find that you are throwing away most of the tree, as it will easily go back in a brief time.
- For pruning, you can make the cuts somewhere between 12 inches to 20 inches (from the ground level). The right point for making the cuts is just slightly above the two buds on the stem sides. These buds will later grow to be the arm of your Y-shaped apple espalier.
You can do the pruning in the early spring season and at the time of plantation. You will find that new shoots are emerging in the late spring season. You can train the strong branches and shoots while removing the weaker ones.
Benefits of Espalier Fan Training for Your Apple Trees
Training apple trees to grow like fans and espaliers can be highly beneficial due to the reasons given below.
- The growth patterns including espalier and fan help the fruits of the tree receive more light. It can improve the color of the fruit as well as enhance its natural sugar content.
- You can grow some varieties that can be only grown in the warm climate when you choose a south-facing wall for tree growth.
- You can easily protect the tree and its fruit from birds/frost due to the espalier growth pattern.
- The flavor of the yield will be improved.
- Espalier and fan growth may have an ornamental value as well.
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