To train an apple tree in espalier or against espalier, it is necessary to put in place, if possible before planting the scions, a solid support which will accompany the growth of the tree and will allow it to be easily staked and give it its shape. over the seasons (U, double U….)
Espalier apple tree
In the case of an espaliered apple tree, if the scions are planted at the foot of a well-exposed wall, first fix at the two ends of the wall a series of chemically sealed hooks or galvanized brackets which provide a distance from the wall of at least 10 cm. It may be necessary, if the length of your future fruit hedge is long, to also fix one or more series of intermediate clips.
Then stretch the wire of the right diameter. Use for this purpose preferably galvanized mesh tensioners, which do not rust. The first cable is placed a little lower than the height of the cut tip (generally between 30 and 50 cm from the ground). The others are staggered every 30 or 40 cm depending on the height you wish to give to the trees formed.
Wooden slats are then regularly attached to the iron wire by means of short pieces of wood screwed to the back of the horizontal slats to trap the cable.
For pear and apple trees, a minimum spacing of 30 cm between two slats must be respected.
Apple tree in counter-espalier
In the case of a tree against espalier, the hooks or end brackets are replaced by thick T-posts with a good amplitude strut.
If you need to install intermediate posts that will only be used to lead the wire, drilled angles are sufficient. All posts are embedded in a deep base and at least 30 cm wide. As in espaliers, the wire lines are stepped in height. The first, between 30 and 50 cm from the ground, the others 30 to 40 cm higher depending on the desired final height. The placement of the slats is analogous to the previous structure.
If you plant only one scion, such an investment is not necessary.
Make a wooden structure
You can use treated wood which will resist weathering better and take on a nice gray hue over time. As far as possible, avoid cleats used in carpentry which are fragile and tend to deform. Prefer a larger section.
If you opt for the formation of an apple tree or a pear tree in U, cut two lengths of 1 m 60 minimum which will constitute the vertical slats then four lengths of 40 cm which will be staged horizontally, will give the spacing between the two carpenters of the U and will ensure the rigidity of the whole. This trellis is finally fixed on a stake at the foot of the tree which will support the weight.