Wednesday, June 5, 2013

6/5/2013 Digging projects update

The city has cleared the backyard for digging. I am going to put in two fence posts each for the fig and pear tree espaliers, as well as sink two metal posts down about two feet into the ground, just off the back patio. The latter will be used to support a shade cloth I've ordered, which will float over the backyard kitchen.

I've been reading up on how to espalier a tree. Rather drastic cuts are made at the beginning, with very long waits in between. It will take about 3-4 years to get the basic framework. For the pear tree, which will be in a tiered "cordon" shape, the first cut is on the main leader, about 18" above the graft. Then you train two lateral branches and one vertical branch. When the vertical branch reaches a height about 1.5' above the first cut, you cut above a bud again. When the tree puts out new shoots, you select two lateral branches and one vertical branch, prune everything else away, and start a new tier. Continue until you have 3-4 tiers, ~1.5' apart.

I need to do some more research on how to train the fig, which I want to have a palmetto, or fan shape.


  1. Oh, you're a more patient woman than I! I love espaliered trees, how they look, and they're fabulous for small spaces. I just personally have never had the patience to train one from the ground up. I hope you'll post updates along the way, would love to see how this work for you!

    1. I'm actually looking forward to the waiting. Strange, isn't it?

  2. I always have the hardest time pruning anything that severely. I think I'm a pruning wuss! But I love the idea of doing one shape of espalier for the pear and a different one for the fig, so I'll be cheering you on at a distance. And learning too.

  3. It involves training the branches into a flat fan shape against the wall, with the two main branches growing outwards at around 40 degrees.


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