The Espalier Fruit Tree Challenge

I was recently inspired by Serina at one of my favorite Youtube channels “You Can’t Eat the Grass” to plant some espalier fruit trees. After seeking permission from the landowner where my garden is located, I started researching and looking for trees. It is possible to buy espalier fruit trees that have already been trained in the right shape, but these are generally quite expensive. I am in no hurry, so I decided to purchase four semi-dwarf trees and prune and train them myself.

The first step was to find a place in the garden, as I share garden space with two other families, I didn’t have a lot of choices. However, one end of my garden area borders a stone wall, is well-drained and gets sunlight most of the day.

Espalier Fruit Tree Area – Before

I removed the old bushes that were there and dug out the many roots that  were present. I ended up with an approximately 5 by 5 meters L-shaped growing area.

I set out three wooden poles that would eventually support the espalier trees and dug my four holes for the trees. I left about 60 cm spacing between the stone wall and trees on one side and the fence and trees on the other side of the “L”. In the space behind the trees I covered the ground with the black plastic that I had left over from my Minibed garden, and spread a layer of bark mulch over this.

Espalier Fruit Tree Area – Planted

I planned on planting 2 apple and 2 pear trees, but my local source didn’t have any pear trees at the moment, so I ended up buying 3 apple and 1 cherry tree. I am not sure how well the cherry tree will work as an espalier tree, but decided to give it a try. I added a generous amount of compost to the holes as I planted the trees. Next weekend I only need to run wire between the posts and finish cleanup the area in front of the trees.

The weather has been warm and sunny the last 4-5 days, so I decided to plant two beds of early potatoes and a bed of onions. I also chanced on a row of peas, covering the row with fleece to protect them from the birds and any late spring freezes.

Peas Under Fleece. Red Currents and Garlic to the Left

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