SQWIB
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Pear Espalier help needed

I just put in a Stark Honeysweet dwarf pair and knee highed it

Here's what I need help with, the following is from Stark Bros found herehttps://www.starkbros.com/growing-guide ... ruit-trees

11) During the first season, let the buds grow into new shoots. Pick the three sturdiest ones and prune off the rest. When the shoots are 3-4 inches long, gently bend and tie one to the lowest right-side horizontal wire and another shoot to the left. Your tree should now look like a lower-case “t”.

12) Don’t let the center trunk grow more than 6” over the first tier. Snip it back as the horizontal branches grow to keep it in check.

13) When the first-tier branches have grown three-quarters of the way to the end of their support wire, allow the central trunk to grow to the second tier and start the process again.
Repeat once more until you have three tiers, each about 7 feet long from end to end.



Step 11 says to select the three strongest buds. One is attached to the left and one to the right.
What about the third?
Then it says don't let the trunk grow more than 6" over the first tier.
This is where I am confused, are they talking about the main trunk or the new, third branch.
Does the new third branch become the trunk? So I would have three branches and a trunk?

Here is the entire instructions for their espalier recommendations.
I'm OK till steps 11-13

1) Choose your location (see tips above).

2) Measure 4 feet up from the soil (final tree height) and center the spot on the wall or support. Chalk a vertical line (the “trunk”) from your centered spot to the ground.

3) Along your vertical “trunk line,” mark a spot 16 inches from the ground (the first branch tier), and repeat twice. You will now have a 4-foot vertical line with three spots marked on it at 16-inch intervals.

4)Now mark out the tree width. Begin at the first 16-inch tier mark on the “trunk” and measure 3-1/2 feet on both the right and left of the trunk. Repeat for the second and third tiers, then draw horizontal lines from point to point. What you should see is a single 4-foot vertical line intersected by three horizontal lines, 16 inches apart and 7 feet wide.

5)Install the eyebolts or wall mounts to the wall/support. A bolt should be placed on the “trunk line” at ground level and where the first, second and third tiers cross. Also attach bolts to each end of each of the 3 horizontal lines.

6)Thread wire through the eyebolts following the pattern drawn on the wall, both vertical and horizontal. Twist the wire at the ends to secure it, and snip.

7) Now it’s time to plant your tree. In spring or fall, dig a hole in front of the vertical wire that is 12-14 inches wide and equally deep. Mix half of the shoveled-out soil with compost. Position the tree whip in the hole so that the crown sits at soil level. Remember to position it 4-5 inches from the wall with a bud just above the first-tier guide wire.

8.) Backfill the hole with the soil/compost mixture and water in well.

9) Attach the trunk to the vertical wire, somewhere below the first-tier horizontal wire, with a stretchy plant tie to avoid bark damage.

10) Take a deep breath and top the center trunk by making a cut about 1-2 inches above the first-tier wire, right above a bud. Make sure there are at least three buds below this one. This action will force the tree to send out branches at or near the first-tier height.

11) During the first season, let the buds grow into new shoots. Pick the three sturdiest ones and prune off the rest. When the shoots are 3-4 inches long, gently bend and tie one to the lowest right-side horizontal wire and another shoot to the left. Your tree should now look like a lower-case “t”.

12) Don’t let the center trunk grow more than 6” over the first tier. Snip it back as the horizontal branches grow to keep it in check.

13) When the first-tier branches have grown three-quarters of the way to the end of their support wire, allow the central trunk to grow to the second tier and start the process again.
Repeat once more until you have three tiers, each about 7 feet long from end to end.

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applestar
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

The 3rd would be the new leader - central trunk. So this should be the top-most bud*

Once the other two are bent over and not competing for the apical dominance, this one should grow rapidly and fatten up.


* ....I just realized this is why the description *lower case* “t
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SQWIB
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

applestar wrote:The 3rd would be the new leader - central trunk. So this should be the top-most bud*

Once the other two are bent over and not competing for the apical dominance, this one should grow rapidly and fatten up.


* ....I just realized this is why the description *lower case* “t


So I ignore the original main trunk? Do I keep cutting back the "new trunk"?
What if the original trunk is growing?
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applestar
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

Right. Once you cut the original trunk slightly above the topmost (3rd) bud, it will not grow — eventually surrounding bark will grow over the cut scar and be fused to the base of the third bud as it grows and takes over.

This is why you cut at an angle with the highest point on the bud-side, and — I’m eyeballing it but — with opposite side/lowest cut at above where the bud is growing (at least half height of the bud above). This allows proper healing of the cut without leaving too much dead wood above the cut. If you are not sure of if your pruners are less than perfectly sharp or aligned, you should leave a little more above the bud in case of splits or torn bark damage. —- Ideally, make some practice cuts on unimportant other branches to see how well your pruners cut and what kind of cut surface/results typically results.

It’s sometimes safer to cut with enough excess for a little damage, then sort of whittle the cut smooth with a sharp knife, but then you need to be very careful not to peel off the surrounding cambium/bark or accidentally handle or rub on the buds you are keeping/saving.
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applestar
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

BTW - sometimes there is winter die-off that occur at the tip of pruned branches and the first bud below the cut that you thought you are keeping to grow is winter-killed. If I prune anything before winter, I often leave sacrificial buds above my “ideal” chosen bud, and make the “final” cut at late winter/early spring pruning time.
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

I agree with all said ......but.
I guess from the description so far the tree that came from the nursery was virtually just a plain ‘ ( stick) ‘ of a leader with no side shoots at all.
I’m afraid I would call this a horrible tree to start with. Even on a pear or triploid apple like a Bramley I would expect a few side shoots on any decent maiden tree to begin with.
To have to cut the tree to persuade any side shoot production seems to me to be a poor tree that is going to need careful TLC and a further two years longer than should be before fruit production.

Am I being a bit stroppy...or do other fruit growers agree?
John

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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

The tree was cut nearly in half, there are small buds below.
I was under the impression that a whip was what you would want?

JONA
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

Not really SQWIB.
A good nursery will supply a tree with six or more ‘ feathers’...side shoots...on a maiden tree . Four or so of those would give you an immediate structure to train along your wires. Also..as the strongest would be at the lower point they would be perfect as regards growing strengths.
The top of the tree can then be tipped at the top wire to induce the two shoots needed for that position. Being one year behind the lower shoots they would be perfect strength.
On espalier you need a progression of growth strengths.
Bottom layer strongest.
Middle layer weaker.
Top wire weakest.
Get this out of kilter and you will soon lose the bottom layers to a top heavy tree.
John

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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

Interesting
What about the knee high cut making the roots supposedly stronger.
Also keeping the tree small?

JONA
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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

It’s the rootstock that controls the root size. Espalier usually uses either. M9 or M26 ..or their equivalent...as anything stronger may make control difficult in the future.
That’s as far as apples are concerned. Pears are much more limited in rootstocks ...so it’s even more important not to promote excess growth.
You don’t want too strong a root system on severely controlled tree styles.
The tree is well fastened as regards support so the roots have only to act as feeders.
It all boils down to preference.
It’s just that a well grown maiden tree with good feathers is half way to giving you the basic form for an espalier and cutting down to such a level means starting all over again in forming that basic shape.
John

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Re: Pear Espalier help needed

Thanks, hopefully I didn't screw it up.
I also knee high cut two peach trees.
One was just a whip and the other had 4 decent size branches.
I'm hoping to keep it short.

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