I’ve had this miniture apple tree for some time now, a volunteer from the large tree beside it. The size of the sapling is perfect for training its growth habit, and I’ve always wanted to try an espaliered tree.
Espalier is a way of training a tree in a 2 dimensional form to promote the growth of the flowering lateral branches that produce fruit. Training is usually done against a wall or fence to provide a microclimate that protects the tree during the season. Although I would love to have a tree that would be simple to pick the fruit from, the shape is what I really hope to achieve.
To get my little guy in shape, I started by standing parallel to the fence and began pruning the branches that grew towards the fence or facing me. This left only branches that were growing mostly parallel to the fence. I took a short wire fence and wove the lower branches through its wire pickets so that they formed a horizontal line. Branches higher up I used garden tape to pull branches down into a horizontal position. The last method used to create a horizontal line of growth was medium gauge wire to aim some branches in the back towards the fence.
The result is the beginnings of what they call the Multitier Cordon shape.
If all goes well I may even try a Palmetter Verier next!