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In my upcoming book, this chapter contains a sizable amount of information on how to plant, grow, espalier, and maintain Apples and Pear Trees (Asiatic and domestic). It also includes a detailed account on how to successfully grow Grapes, Figs, Cherries, Apricots, Peach, Blueberries, Raspberries, Currant, Gooseberries and other edible delicacies, all grown organically. Below is a guide to my apple approach.
Espaliering seems difficult but it’s relatively simple once you get the hang of it.
Plant whip in a large enough hole so the
roots are not bunched, and with the bud union of the grafted plant 2-4” above
the ground surface after the soil has settled.
During the first year growth, tie the two shoots from each side of trunk to the wire, and leave the vertical one to grow upward
Continue to fasten all shoots during the growing season to prevent breakage.
After having pruned the first year growth
and securely tied it to second wire which should be 18” from the bottom one, rub
off all new shoots on the trunk except 3.
Repeat same procedure, except this time,
the plant is apt to flower; remove all forming fruit to ensure it will not take
nutrients needed for its growth.
This year’s growth should make the 4th
scaffolding, and perhaps some of the flowers should be left to fruit.
Continue to train as in previous tiers, but
this time, take the liberty and leave more fruit –perhaps 4-5 in each branch.
Congratulations, you have succeeded!
Use IPM – Integral Pest Management – a strategy or long term prevention to control pests through mapping, monitoring and scouting and by using applicable techniques to keep in check, not eradicate pests.
Horticultural oil (which I’m spraying in the photo) is safe, easy to use and effective, and can be sprayed during the dormant and growing season; other pesticides which derive from plants and are also safe and effective are: Neem, Nicotine, Pyrethryns, Rotenone and Ryania.
find this method of fertilization is beneficial for many fruit trees except
apricot, they need less fertilizer: Tie a string or rope (loosely) around trunk,
and ring around each plant at drip line– with a pick, bar or pointed instrument
make a hole about 4” deep by 1 ½ in diameter.
Use horticultural oil before bud break and again at petal-fall, and continue throughout the season with a finer oil spray to insure a good crop.
Early spring is a delicate time for espaliered apple blossoms; cold and rainy weather often keeps bees and other pollinators from venturing into the garden.
And that’s when a homemade pollinator comes in handy.
It’s nothing more than a long stick with soft feathers; this one was made from seagull feathers scrounged from the nearby beach.
An excessive quantity of fruit is usually not recommended because it stresses the plant and affects the yield of the following year.
But who has the heart to remove the wonderful little apples when they’re the size of a marble?
Be vigilant when it comes to protecting your apple trees from attack.
Pests are quite adaptable to adverse conditions and the gardener is ultimately responsible for crop failure – there are many organic sprays, and horticultural oils that can be used on fruit trees, and are quite effective.
Contrary to what people might think, espaliered dwarf apple trees produce regular size apples.
If properly stored, they will last past the New Year, and since you grew them without poisonous pesticides and fungicides, you can enjoy them even more, and be healthier as a result.
……… and much