Peaches get a buzz cut for spring – espalier no more?

Spring weather dictates what winter imaginings are actually done.

This weekend was balmy. Sixty degree temps rid us of the last February snow. It was a good time for trimming the 4 year old peach trees.  The days of training into an espalier are gone.  If I had found Ian Sturrock’s video on espalier earlier, perhaps I could have put the wire/bamboo in place, and trained them up right.  Sturrock, a notable Welsh nurseryman specializing in fruit trees show how it can be done with the right timing and technique.    He walks you through the types of espalier ( growth mechanically constrained to a single plane using various types of growth patterns/templates ).  This kind of restriction allows for a narrow planting against a wall or the creation of a living fence.  Or just giving peaches a place to be in a very small space.

Two peaches from seed are trimmed to open its center and produce better structure.

My trees grew to about 6′ – 6.5′  last year.  Amazing how they do that with good rain in the early season.  To use the fan method of espalier, a tree must be started when the first branching can be forced from a single whip at about knee height.  That was probably supposed to be done in year 2?  Oh well,  now the best I can achieve are sturdy branches in a modified fan shape, open in the center.  The main scaffold branches have a few good leads growing at  ~45 degree angle.

Even if you don’t intend to espalier your fruits, Ian’s video is good learning. I was unaware of how branch growth angles affect the nutrient dispersal.  The lower branches I crudely tied down will likely be useless unless I can let them grow upward.

Thanks Ian, I will do better next time I promise! 🙂

These are experiments like all others.  In my next adventure I will apply what I’ve learned here. If today’s cut it bad, I will bring in the experts.

The native plums are next.  Where will they grow out back, and how do I get them cultivating?


See Also:

The Peach Tree Espalier


An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

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