Pruning Espaliers

Pruning apple or pear espaliers shouldn’t be complicated and this year we have simplified our pruning guide to make it even easier. 

After planting in Autumn/Winter:

  • Espaliers will have 1 or more tiers already established and these will be at roughly 18 inches apart
  • Make sure you plant the tree first before putting wires up to get the correct height
  • In order to produce another tier cut the main leader just above the wire (but only if the leader is long enough to do so). If not prune it back by 1/3 to promote growth
  • Cut the side branch leaders back by 1/3 of new growth
  • Any side shoots (laterals) from the branch leaders should be reduced to 3 or 4 inches
  • Any other shoots can be removed from the main stem

Summer pruning espaliers

  • In July all laterals on side branches should be shortened to 4 inches
  • Then shorten any sub laterals(growing from laterals) to 2 to 3 inches
  • Do not prune any shoots which are shorter than 8 inches
  • Do not prune leaders
  • Tie in main leader and the selected shoots for the next tier
  • Remove any unwanted shoots from central stem and tie in side branch leaders
  • This process can be repeated until there are as many tiers as required and side branches have extended as far as required, then prune back new growth to point of origin each year.

Check out our care guides for pruning fan trained trees too.

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