Originally posted on 5/15/2016.
I will be planting two of my peach seedlings along a back fence. This has been a long forgotten part of the yard. But one that would lend well to small fruit trees. My seedlings are ready for their permanent home and while that part of the yard is not in full use I think it would be fun to train the trees to grow along the fence.
So espalier comes to mind when you talk about training trees. In fact espalier is a specific type of training – one with main branches grown horizontally. So I will be learning the fan method of training.
Choosing a site
Its recommended to plant your trees at least 6 inches from your fence or wall. The trees need full sun to allow the fruit to ripen. Since stone fruits produce best on one year old branches (tip fruiting), a fan type of espalier is best.
See this for early pruning of a peach tree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGvXhRKR90Y
When trees produce fruit on one year old, the wood will usually die back, making it easy to know what to prune if you wait until they fruit. Only cut the dead branches and leave 3 buds for new growth. Branches that are getting too long can also be cut back and will promote fruiting closer to the main branch.
Creating the support structure.
A fan should be made of 7 branches… 1 in the center and 3 on each side.
You build your fan from the outside in so that the sap doesn’t go all to the center lead. You take two buds from the base and attach to the outside bamboo rods. Then the next year you choose two branches from the outside branches to attach to the next row of bamboo rods. Working your way inwards each year until finally you do the center.
Can an espalier frame be attached to a fence or do you run the risk of damaging the fence?
The first year
Once I have allowed my peach to produce its first two
Never prune plums, cherries, apricots, peach and nectarine during the winter months. The best times are early spring before sap begins to flow or as soon as you have picked the crop. This helps to avoid disease from developing.
Growing fruit trees | Hints and tips
Summer Pruning & Espaliers