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Esapalier Apple and Pear won't fruit

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:58 pm
by andy139hunt

I'm hoping for some advice please.
I planted 2 apple and 1 pear tree in a line 7 years ago (I can't remember the varierty but they were common). My grandfather was a keen gardener (since passed away) advised me to pinch out the blossom for the first 3-4 yrs after planting to encourage their roots to grow which I did.
After that I pruned and tied them in so that the branches were horizontal into an espalier. Over the last couple of years I have tried pruning them back to a couple of buds as per the books at the end of summer one year, whilst dormant at the end of winter one year and this year I have pruned as and when to keep new growth back to a couple of buds.
I have introduced plenty of well rotted horse manure in case the soil was poor but so far in 7yrs I have had one pear and one marble sized apple last year and nothing this year. I have no idea what else left to try.

I'd love to have my own apples and pears, can you help please?

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:34 pm
by opabinia51
Do you watch the trees regularly? The reason why I ask is because the Coddling Moth and some sort of worm are wreaking havoc on fruit trees around North America and fruit is eaten and falls off the trees before it has a chance to mature.

Also, I have read that pinching the buds just produces less fruit for you. What my old neighbour and I do is let the fruit come true but, weed out any fruit that crowds other fruit on the respective tree.

I personally wouldn't go to nuts pruning the trees, just once a year should be fine.

Oh, and well rotted manure is great stuff, but I also encourage people to add mulched leaves for Carbon addition to the soil and also vary the greens that you add to increase the nutrient content. If you just add manures (depending on the kind) you can have salts build up.

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:54 am
by andy139hunt
Thanks Opabinia51 for your help.

I watch the trees quite regularly and have never seen any pests. I am in the UK so not sure if we suffer from Coddling moth.

Like you say I mix the manure with leaf mulch and good old compost to get a good blend.

I havn't pinched the buds now for several years but I have never had an apple of any size on either apple tree and 1 pear last year. Its really bugging me...

When I visit open gardens I see lovelly espalier apple trees with a good shape and no new shoots romping off. I have tried pruning once a year at the end of summer and another year at the end of winter but in both cases during the next summer I got loads of 2 foot long shoots from the horizontal runners. What time of year should I do my annual prune to get the apple trees putting their effort into fruiting rather than masses of new long shoots?

Any help much appreciated


tip-bearing varieties?

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:28 pm
by Tom Amlie
Andy -
Some varieties are "tip bearing", where fruit is borne upon the tips of growth. By pruning you may be removing all of the tips. It is reported that espalier-training tip-bearing apples is very difficult for just that keep it in form you need to remove all of the newer growth.

Do a web-search under "tip-bearing apples" or "tip-bearing pears" or some variation thereof and you should get more information.

Hope this helps...

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:29 pm
by opabinia51
Thanks for the advice Tom! Please feel free to post any advice or questions that you have on the site.